The internet is controlling your brain with alert notifications.

Alert notifications are designed to induce compulsive behavior in you.


Compulsive Behavior Sells
Nir Eyal is showing software designers how to hook users in four easy steps. Welcome to the new era of habit-forming technology
In an age when commercial competition is only a click away, the new mandate is to make products and services that generate compulsive behavior: in essence, to get users hooked on a squirt of dopamine to the brain’s reward center to ensure that they’ll come back.”
Principles derived from behavioral science play an increasing role in software design, creating a demand for experts who can guide developers in the art—and science—of behavior engineering.
Eyal’s workshops offer a four-hour immersion in the mechanics of the hook.

It starts with a trigger, a prod that propels users into a four-step loop. Think of the e-mail notification you get when a friend tags you in a photo on Facebook. The trigger prompts you to take an action—say, to log in to Facebook. That leads to a reward: viewing the photo and reading the comments left by others. In the fourth step, you inject a personal stake by making an investment: say, leaving your own comment in the thread. This pattern, Eyal says, kicks off a cycle that lodges behaviors in the basal ganglia, the part of the brain where automatic behaviors are stored and where, according to neuroscientists, they last a lifetime.
The hook’s final stage, investment, closes the loop by “loading the next trigger,” Eyal says, an idea inspired in part by work on game psychology by Jesse Schell, a Disney Imagineer turned Carnegie Mellon professor. Take Twitter. When you make an investment by posting a tweet, a follower’s reply to your contribution triggers an e-mail notification to your in-box, inciting you to take yet another spin through the cycle.
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This sounds sinister in a way, but actually, it's been happening for much longer than the Internet has been around. In the past, people had to join clubs, societies, special interest groups, even a close group of friends, and physically meet. All the Internet has done is facilitated the process and enormously widened its scope.

I doubt that Internet designers have consciously designed things this way: they have merely adopted what works, and, incidentally, commercial interests may piggy back on that. We get the Internet that we want; that panders to human nature as it actually is. If designers take things too far, we'll pretty soon vote with our metaphorical feet and move on elsewhere.
In the past people didn't have mobile devices that they have with them 24/7 which they check compulsively. They didn't get mail delivered 24/7. They didn't complain about being unable to stop posting to forums or of having to take breaks from posting to forums because it was having a negative impact on their lives. I was being melodramatic when I attributed this to the internet, but the application designers know what they are doing, or else the article is a hoax.

All those little things that give you pleasure, getting likes, getting notifications, etc are positive reinforcements that increase the likelihood that you will use a site. If you want to do something to defend yourself against this type of manipulation you can turn off notifications for replies and likes.

Even if you don't change your behavior deliberately I think it is useful to be reminded about the effects of positive reinforcement. Psychological manipulation is going on all the time on the internet, and with any type of advertising, in retail stores, its all around you.
When you walk into almost any store, you're immediately overloaded with sights, sounds, smells, and various things to touch. This barrage on your senses are hand-picked for one goal: to make you spend more. Here's what's going on...
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Pretty soon sites will be generating fake users to get you hooked:
There are a few universal truths in online dating: most photos are carefully staged, most profiles are slightly puffed-up, and most people on them (and this is clearly fast-changing) are actually human.

Until some unlucky Tinder users spotted Ava.

A company promoting the movie Ex Machina created a fake account, Ava, with a photo of the star of the movie. Ava is an AI in the film and presumably she wants to get down. Unsuspecting men and women swiped to make a match and Ava, in a cross between cheesy AI and Eliza, asked a few pertinent questions including “Have you ever been in love?” and “What makes you human?” Normal users assumed they were talking to a human but they were actually talking to a bot. In the end, like the chatbots that now linger on near dead chat systems like AIM, Ava sent her suitors to an Instagram page where they found out that she was all a sham.
There are advocates for all sorts of social issues like on-line privacy etc. I think there is a need to educate the public about psychological techniques used by corporations and government etc. to manipulate them.
Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media
Military's 'sock puppet' software creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda
17 March 2011
More stupidity. This time, thankfully, it's by an MBA (Eyal) not someone in the sciences. People who don't want to read/comment won't be on forums in the first place. and anything done enough times will be habit-forming for many people. What's next? He'll wax about picking one's nose?
“Children of all ages use the same adjectives to describe how they feel when they are competing with screens for their parent’s attention,” said Adair. “Angry, sad, frustrating, and lonely were the words used over and over.”

A recent international study confirms her findings. Online security company AVG/Location Labs found a third of children said their parents spend as much or more time with their devices, than they do with them.

These devices are actually addictive,” says company CEO Tasso Roumeliotis. “They are constructed that way and meant to notify you and trigger a dopamine addictive hit to your brain to react.”


Psychologist point out, when parents are looking at their screens they often respond more harshly to their kids.
I must be an outlier, because several of my apps have auto-update turned off (to save data) and the number in that red circle keeps going up. The App Store has 23 update notifications and I don't feel bothered at all.
I must be an outlier, because several of my apps have auto-update turned off (to save data) and the number in that red circle keeps going up. The App Store has 23 update notifications and I don't feel bothered at all.
By the way, you can often set it to auto update only when on wifi.