Summary of America’s Dopamine-Fueled Shopping Addiction

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America’s Dopamine-Fueled Shopping Addiction summary

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Americans like to shop. Jackie Lay of The Atlantic explores this trend and stumbles upon some disturbing insights. Be warned: This video exhibits consumerism at its most crass. Lay explores the biological and historical roots of America’s shopping addiction and sketches what it means for individuals and the globe. Although she highlights a growing social shift, it may not be unraveling fast enough to veer Earth away from a crash course with disaster.

About the Speaker

Jackie Lay is the art director for video and an animator at The Atlantic.


Americans suffer from shopping addiction, and getting a hit has never been easier. Online shopping eliminates all the physical restrictions that the traditional shopping experience imposes – traveling to the store within defined opening hours, searching for goods in the aisles, standing in line at the checkout, and so on. Moreover, goods are increasingly more affordable. Your brain experiences a “dopamine hit” when you buy something online, and yet another one when your package arrives. This “double benefit” makes online shopping more enjoyable than offline shopping. In prehistoric times, that dopamine kick served to protect; people...

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