Curing Internet Addiction Via Good Old-Fashioned Electroshock Therapy

A pair of MIT doctoral candidates came up with a way to reduce excessive Internet usage by creating a keyboard accessory called, unsurprisingly, "Pavlov Poke."

What's the Latest Development?


MIT doctoral candidates Robert R. Morris and Dan McDuff were having a hard time staying off Facebook. Together, they estimated they spent as much as 50 hours a week on the site. To curb their addiction, they decided to go old-school: They created a keyboard accessory that monitored their Internet usage and delivered an "unpleasant, but not dangerous" electric shock if they spent too much time on certain sites. In honor of the scientist who first developed this method of aversion therapy, they named their device "Pavlov Poke."

What's the Big Idea?

Although Pavlov Poke was never meant for commercial use, and they eventually disconnected it, Morris says on his Web site that he "noticed a significant reduction in my Facebook usage" because of it. He also states that social media sites "are addictive by design" and mentions a recent University of Michigan study linking Facebook addiction to lower levels of well-being. For what it's worth, the pair's other attempt to merge tech and therapy -- in which Amazon Mechanical Turk workers are paid to call people who spend too much time online -- is painless, at least in the physical sense.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at FastCompany

Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less

Why Lil Dicky made this star-studded Earth Day music video

"Earth" features about 30 of the biggest names in entertainment.

Culture & Religion
  • Lil Dicky is a rapper and comedian who released his debut album in 2015.
  • His new music video, "Earth," features artists such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheehan, Kevin Hart, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • All proceeds of the music video will go to environmental causes, Dicky said.
Keep reading Show less

After death, you’re aware that you’ve died, say scientists

Some evidence attributes a certain neurological phenomenon to a near death experience.

Credit: Petr Kratochvil. PublicDomainPictures.net.
Surprising Science

Time of death is considered when a person has gone into cardiac arrest. This is the cessation of the electrical impulse that drive the heartbeat. As a result, the heart locks up. The moment the heart stops is considered time of death. But does death overtake our mind immediately afterward or does it slowly creep in?

Keep reading Show less

Behold, the face of a Neolithic dog

He was a very good boy.

Image source: Historic Environment Scotland
Surprising Science
  • A forensic artist in Scotland has made a hyper realistic model of an ancient dog.
  • It was based on the skull of a dog dug up in Orkney, Scotland, which lived and died 4,000 years ago.
  • The model gives us a glimpse of some of the first dogs humans befriended.
Keep reading Show less