Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

You’re probably addicted to tech

You’re probably addicted to tech.  You may not realize it, or think you’ve got it under control, or know the problem but hide it.  Addiction does not have to be chemical, it could be behavioural — and it’s the latter that tech hooks you with.  Apps, websites, social media are engineered to be irresistible.

“There are a thousand people on the other side of the screen whose job it is to break down the self-regulation you have.” — Tristan Harris, “design ethicist”

Adam Alter’s book, Irresistible, looks at addictive behaviours and what we can do about it.  A fascinating excerpt from his book is published in Wired:

Tech Bigwigs Know How Addictive Their Products Are. Why Don’t the Rest of Us?

Check it out.

March 25, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, psychology | , | Leave a comment

Addiction seen as a habit

An interesting perspective on addiction.  Has a very good section on explaining the science of habit-formation. A long read, but if you ever struggled with addiction, depression, anxiety or just a bad habit, it’s worth reading it just to see it from a different point of view.

The addiction habit

Addiction changes the brain but it’s not a disease that can be cured with medicine. In fact, it’s learned – like a habit

Marc Lewis | 14 December, 2016 | aeon

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December 30, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, brain, psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The scientists who make apps addictive

A must-read.

The scientists who make apps addictive

Ian Leslie | October/November 2016 | The Economist 1843

Tech companies use the insights of behaviour design to keep us returning to their products. But some of the psychologists who developed the science of persuasion are worried about how it is being used

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October 24, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Junk food is addictive

“… extremely sweet or fatty foods captivate the brain’s reward circuit in much the same way that cocaine and gambling do…”

A must-read for the sake of your own health.

How Sugar and Fat Trick the Brain into Wanting More Food

Junk foods can muddle the brain’s satiety-control mechanism, sending our appetites into hyperdrive

Ferris Jabr | January 1, 2016 | Scientific American

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January 3, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, diet, health, nutrition | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Websites are designed for addiction

Title says it all. Read it on the original site and watch the video shown on the left.

User behaviour

Websites and apps are designed for compulsion, even addiction. Should the net be regulated like drugs or casinos?

Michael Schulson | 24 November, 2015 | aeon

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December 25, 2015 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, psychology | , | Leave a comment

For Cocaine Addicts, Treatment with Magnets May Stop Craving

Interesting potential new treatment based on the finding that “…In addicts, areas of the prefrontal cortex that would normally be alight with activity often go dark in the absence of the drug…”

Wonder if it works for chocolate cravings. 😉

For Cocaine Addicts, Treatment with Magnets May Stop Craving

Can magnetic stimulation of the brain shake drug users out of their habits?

By Adam Piore | December 3, 2015 | MIT Technology Review

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December 5, 2015 Posted by | brain | , , | Leave a comment

Play Tetris to reduce your cravings

Playing Tetris (or other games that are visually engaging) reduces your cravings by about 20%. Not much, but better than nothing.

Food, Sleep, Wine and Sex

Sean Levinson | Aug 17, 2015 | Elite Daily
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October 18, 2015 Posted by | behaviour, psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sugar Addiction is Real

So after you read this, look at the amount of sugar in your kids’ cereal.  I wonder if a couple of decades from now (or sooner?) the companies selling such addictive and harmful fare will be treated like the tobacco companies today are.

Here’s what happens to your brain when you give up sugar for Lent

Jordan Gaines Lewis | February 18 2015 | The Conversation

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February 21, 2015 Posted by | brain, evolution | , , | Leave a comment

Junk Food Like Drugs

“….brain pathways that make drugs pleasurable are the same pathways that allow you to enjoy food…”

No wonder it’s so easy to overeat and so hard to diet.  The article below, from Medhelp – Healthy Living, explores the similarities between food and drugs and the resulting potential addiction problems:

Your Brain on Junk Food

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April 2, 2013 Posted by | behaviour, brain, diet, health | , , | Leave a comment

Sugar IS addictive

From Discover magazine’s DiscoBlog:

Move Over, Heroin: “Sugar Addiction” May Be a Reality

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October 13, 2009 Posted by | brain, diet, health | , , | Leave a comment