Tag Archives: psychology

How Social Media misuses Behaviour Modification techniques

I’ve just read an article that is so important, I’m posting about it here and on Medium. The article is entitled:

How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind — from a Magician and Google Design Ethicist

Oddly enough, it wasn’t the bit about the writer being a magician that caught my attention, it was the label of ‘Google Design Ethicist’ that made me start reading. Having just learned how Google invades our privacy, I was primed to be interested.

Almost immediately, I recognized the term ‘intermittent rewards’ as one of the  ‘behaviour mod[ification]’ techniques I’d studied at university. The course was Behavioural Sciences, and back then I’d wanted to become a psychologist.

In a nutshell, behaviour mod. started out as a therapy for:

Inducing positive change in an individual’s behavior through such techniques as positive and negative reinforcement, or punishment for poor behavior. This therapy method is based off of the experiments by B.F. Skinner and his theory of operant conditioning.

https://psychcentral.com/encyclopedia/behavior-modification/

My interest in psychology was sidelined by my introduction to computers, so I never ‘used’ my studies for anything, but apparently industry had. Intermittent rewards are used to make people addicted to all sorts of things, including slot machines and…social media. When you see people obsessively checking their phones, or computers, for messages, emails, or ‘Likes’ on social media platforms like Facebook, it’s because they’ve been conditioned to do so by the technique of intermittent rewards.

You can see exactly how intermittent rewards work on social media by reading the article:

https://journal.thriveglobal.com/how-technology-hijacks-peoples-minds-from-a-magician-and-google-s-design-ethicist-56d62ef5edf3

We’ve been turned into Pavlov’s Dogs by ‘social engineers’ who either never question the ethics of what they’re doing, or simply don’t care. The only way to turn social media into something that benefits us is to:

a) become aware of how we’re being manipulated and

b) kick up such a stink that companies benefiting from this manipulation are forced to change, or go under.

I’m so angry, I’d be happy to see them all crash and burn.

Meeks

 


#Internet #Addiction – guilty as charged?

This article is about e-addiction. Don’t reach for your dictionaries, I just made that up. The addiction, however, is very real and I’ve experienced it myself, both as a gamer and as a netizen.

According to this article in the Washington Post :

‘[internet] Addicts lose interest in other hobbies or, sometimes, never develop any. When not allowed to go online, they experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, depression or even physical shaking. They retreat into corners of the Internet where they can find quick success — a dominant ranking in a game or a well-liked Facebook post — that they don’t have in the real world, experts say.’

The emphasis on ‘success’ is mine, and I believe it is the foundation of this psychological addiction. If real life sucks, go online and become a ‘god’ who is respected and adored by everyone. Or words to that effect.That kind of ego stroking is very hard to ignore because we all want to be respected, admired, liked.

The real problem, however, is not that we find ‘success’ online, but that we do not find it in the real world.

In a way, I guess this is just another First World problem, but it is real, and it will become more prevalent as the mobile generations swap their Smartphones for SmartJewellery, or SmartClothing, or SmartGoggles…or whatever. All these future devices will be fantastic, but they will not make living in the real world any easier.

Definitely food for thought,

Meeks

p.s.in Korea, the pressures of real life have already created a whole society that is more ‘connected’ than any other. And they’re starting to have serious problems. This case is unusual but brings home the message.


#VR – will it need safety standards?

The following quote describes the [current] experience of VR [virtual reality]:

‘“The gap between ‘things that happen to my character’ and ‘things that happen to me’ is bridged,” Stephan said. This distinction can transform an experience from merely flinch-inducing to sincerely frightening. “The way I process these scares is not through the eyes of a person using their critical media-viewing faculty but through the eyes of I, the self, with all of the very human, systems-level, subconscious voodoo that comes along with that.”’

Given how immersive even normal gaming can be, I do not find this phenomenon all that surprising. What I do find surprising is the genuine note of warning sounded in the article. You can find the entire story here:

http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-coming-horror-of-virtual-reality

[and thanks to the Passive Guy for pointing the way]

Back to VR. As a gamer, I’ve been thinking about the consequences of addiction for a long time, and in Emmi’s story [in The Vintage Egg], one of the ideas I toss out there is that in the future, legislation will stop gamers from ‘playing’ for longer than a few hours. For their own good.

Will society really impose restrictions on the use of VR and AR [Augmented Reality]?

-shrug- Who knows, but it is gratifying to find that someone else is also thinking beyond the ‘oh goody, a new, supa doopa toy’ to the possible consequences of using that toy. I suspect that we will have to have deaths before the technology is regulated, which is a sobering thought. One thing I am certain about, however, is that next five to ten years will deliver a world-wide, totally voluntary [and probably expensive] social experiment on disruptive technology. 😀

We live in interesting times, neh?

Meeks

 


2012: Midnight at Spanish Gardens – a review

I first stumbled onto ‘Midnight at Spanish Gardens’ on a book review site, and was so intrigued I had to buy it there and then.  Now on with the review.

midnight at spanish gardensWritten by Alma Alexander, Midnight at Spanish Gardens is not the kind of story that fits neatly into a pigeon hole. The writing is beautiful, almost poetic,  yet it never forgets that it is meant to be prose, or that it has a story to tell. So based on the quality of the writing,  and the fact the story is set in modern times, I could easily describe Spanish Gardens as contemporary literature.

Yet as I read on,  I discovered that the mysterious bartender named Ariel is somehow sending the five main characters back in time to live the lives they might have lived if things had been… different.

How do I describe that? Contemporary metaphysical fantasy literature?

Yet even that convoluted category doesn’t accurately describe Midnight at Spanish Gardens, because how the main characters come to relive their lives is less important than what they do with those second chances. Or the choices they make when Ariel calls them back. Will they choose the first life? Or will they choose the new life they have made? Sadly, they cannot choose both.

For some of the characters, their new lives are better than the old, happier, more fulfilled. For others, their new lives turn out to be more successful in some ways, but ultimately devoid of meaning in others. Yet the story of these lives, and the choices the characters make is no morality play. Rather it is the tender exploration of what makes all of us human, without judgment, and without condemnation.

Whether the character is male or female, each one feels real and intensely believable. Some I liked more than others, but each one touched me deeply, and in my opinion, that is a psychological tour de force.

So what is Midnight at Spanish Gardens? Psychological metaphysical contemporary fantasy literature?

Nope. 😀 The book is much simpler than that – it is nothing more nor less than a work of art.

If Midnight at Spanish Gardens contained even a smidgeon of science fiction I’d give it 11/10. As it is I can only give it a 10.

Joking aside, I truly loved this book, and I promise, hand on heart, that if you read it you will not be disappointed.

cheers

Meeks


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