Categories
Psychology Tech

Ludic loop

In his blog post on breaking phone addiction, Erik Barker uses a quote from NYU marketing and psychology professor Adam Antler to explain why we keep checking our phones again and again. The process is called a “ludic loop.” #gif #socialmediaaddiction
via Reddit

In his blog post on breaking phone addiction, Erik Barker uses a quote from NYU marketing and psychology professor Adam Antler to explain why we keep checking our phones again and again. The process is called a “ludic loop.”

The “ludic loop” is this idea that when you’re engaged in an addictive experience, like playing slot machines, you get into this lulled state of tranquility where you just keep doing the thing over and over again. It just becomes the comfortable state for you. You don’t stop until you’re shaken out of that state by something.

So how we do we keep ourselves from going down the Facebook and Instagram rabbit hole? We employ a “stopping rule.”

It’s a rule that says at this point it’s time for me to stop. It breaks the reverie and makes you think of something else; it gets you outside of the space you’ve been in. The best thing to do is to use a declarative statement like, “I don’t watch more than two episodes of a show in a row, that’s just not who I am.”

As Barker points, you can also remove the dopamine hitting apps from your phone and replace them with something useful like the Kindle app to encourage more reading. And in the worst case scenario, you can throw your phone into the ocean, or just leave it in an inconvenient place to prevent the urge to take another futile gamble.

Categories
Tech

Grounded by the glare

A gif of cats chasing a mouse on a screen
via giphy

Collecting the world, not by understanding it but by feeding on the latest stimulus. Smartphones have engineered a collective immunity against boredom.

Play, relaxation, and exploration all take turns scratching on the glass. We are always on and perpetually entertained. The phone never shuts up—the text neck is infectious.

It’s not our fault that we have to resist and embrace distraction in order to stay sane yet connected and get ahead in our lives and careers. We can try to go minimalist or disconnect altogether but that would set us back.

Aware of that rectangular glow but not controlled it, that is all we can ask.

Categories
Social Media Tech

The great escape

Peeking at life, three inches from the screen. It’s the possibility that it may show us something captivating that keeps our eyeballs alive. #tech #gif

Peeking at life, three inches from the screen. It’s the possibility that it may show us something captivating that keeps our eyeballs alive.

Even with robotic intervention, we’re glued to that rectangular glow. There’s enough variety in the repetition to keep us hooked.

But what happens when we willfully want to get away?

We struggle to bend our attention back into focus. When a thousand websites and apps are talking to us screaming for clicks, we lose understanding of ourselves.

Consumption drains identities so that we can no longer be ourselves. The physical and psychological spaces are limited, that is until we make the first move to get out.

Categories
Tech

Leave the phone behind

I have a simple rule: every time I take the dog outside for a walk I leave my phone behind. #gif #tech #addiction

I have a simple rule: every time I take the dog outside for a walk I leave my phone behind. 

I used to take the phone with me wherever I went — even the bathroom. Now when I abandon it, I can literary feel my mind rebuilding itself.

I have a similar approach for my work desk. I deliberately put the phone out of reach so I don’t have the temptation to snag it.

The resistance, of course, is never perfect. I wish I earned a penny every time my eyes get sucked into that rectangular glow.

Resisting the phone by leaving it behind is a win for my head. So grab a leash and take your thoughts for a walk. It’s impossible to connect the dots when your mind is playing the slot machines all day.

Categories
Tech

We have reached peak screen

giphy
via giphy

The smartphone hypnotizes us into screen glaring addicts.

We have zero control of our attention and it makes us feel like we’re losing our mind. Writes Farhad Manjoo in his piece We Have Reached Peek Screen:

Screens are insatiable. At a cognitive level, they are voracious vampires for your attention, and as soon as you look at one, you are basically toast.

There are studies that bear this out. One, by a team led by Adrian Ward, a marketing professor at the University of Texas’ business school, found that the mere presence of a smartphone within glancing distance can significantly reduce your cognitive capacity. Your phone is so irresistible that when you can see it, you cannot help but spend a lot of otherwise valuable mental energy trying to not look at it.

The companies Apple and Google who got us hooked in the first place are now trying to reduce screen time by outsourcing things like to-do’s to voice assistants like Siri.

If Apple could only improve Siri, its own voice assistant, the Watch and AirPods could combine to make something new: a mobile computer that is not tied to a huge screen, that lets you get stuff done on the go without the danger of being sucked in. Imagine if, instead of tapping endlessly on apps, you could just tell your AirPods, “Make me dinner reservations at 7” or “Check with my wife’s calendar to see when we can have a date night this week.”

That candy-colored rectangular glow is too seductive, a trap that leads into a ludic loop of distraction. It’s about time the tech heads, like car companies did with seat belts, are doing something to preserve our neurological safety.

Categories
Culture Tech

Stay connected while showering

91sRmltKHSL._SL1500_
iPad Mount Clear Shower Curtain Liner Tablet (Amazon)

This shower curtain with tablet and smartphone pockets allow you to shower and stare at your screen at the same time.

Watch, play with or listen to your phone or tablet in the shower. 100% waterproof. Even use your camera. Features multiple phone and tablet sized pockets on outside to hold your device. Different height levels for everyone from tall adults to children. Touch interaction from the inside of the shower or bath, change songs, play games, scroll through the news.

Meanwhile, the phone cone is still waiting for its real-life debut.

(h/t boing boing)