[…] adaptive instincts turn maladaptive due to exposure to supernormal stimuli; magnified and more attractive versions of evolved stimuli. Nikolaas Tinbergen, the ethologist who coined the term supernormal stimuli, demonstrated that he could trick birds, fish, and insects into evolutionary traps using exaggerated dummy objects designed to trigger their instincts. […] psychologist Deirdre Barrett points out that humans are just as fallible to these superstimuli. Whether it be junk food, laugh tracks, pornography, or likes on social media, these artificial triggers addict us and hijack our agency.
Peter Limberg with Conor Barnes: The Memetic Tribes Of Culture War 2.0 | medium.com 2018-09-14