At VINAYA, we're fascinated by how habits dictate human behaviour. In our Lab, we explore how everyday environmental cues and rewards impact willpower. We're particularly interested in digital habits– understanding how they impact our mental state, as well as society at large.
We argue that the brain is to blame for our technological addictions, not our technology. Behavioural psychology teaches us that our smartphone notifications fire up reward systems in our brains causing the release of pleasure hormones such as dopamine and oxytocin. In other words, every time our phone buzzes, we receive a Facebook notification, or we check our inbox, our brain creates shortcuts.
Every time you pick up your smartphone and swipe to refresh, it's probably because your brain has learned an easy way to get a 'feel good' quick fix.
We should ask ourselves, why do we develop these bad digital habits? When we reach for our phone, are we craving human connection? Are we looking to be inspired? Are we using it as a safety blanket when feeling self-conscious in public? Are we looking to distract ourselves from pain, anxiety or fear? Only when we understand why can we begin to break down the barriers to a better solution.
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