How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind


1. Millions would fiercely defend our rights to make "free" decisions from a menu of choices, while very few would ask what's not on the menu. Technology hijacks the way we perceive our choices and replaces them with new ones. Pay more attention and you will realize that most of time the options provided don't actually align with your true needs.

2. Average people check their phones 150 times a day. Instead of consciously making choices, what they really do is like playing a slot machine. #1 psychological ingredient in slot machines is intermittent variable reward. Tech designers link a user's action with a variable reward. And addictiveness is maximized when the rate of reward is most variable. Each time we pull our phone out of pocket, we're playing a slot machine to see what notifications we got.

3. The fear of missing something important, even with a remote possibility of 1%, keeps us from unsubscribing newsletters that haven't delivered obvious benefits. Yet the truth is that we don't miss what we don't see. Once you let go of that fear and unplug yourself, all these concerns are gone.

4. When someone tags us in a photo, he's only responding to Facebook's suggestion, not making a conscious choice. The craze for social approval is one of our greatest vulnerabilities.

5. We are all vulnerable to needing to reciprocate others' gestures. Companies like LinkedIn turn your unconscious impulses (to add someone to your network) into social obligations that the other "must" repay.

6. Cornell professor shows that you can trick people into eating 73% more calories by giving them a bottomless bowl that automatically refills as they eat. Netflix does the exact same thing by automatically playing the next episode.

7. Interruption is good for business. Messaging apps prefer to interrupt you immediately and tells the sender that you saw the message, making you feel more obligated to respond.

8. Tech companies always bundle what you need with what they need, making it much harder for you to get things done while pushing you to contribute more to their benefits.

9. Businesses naturally want to make the choices they want you to make easier, and the choices they don’t want you to make harder. A magician works in the exact same way.

10. People don't intuitively forecast the true cost of a click. For example sales people use "foot in the door" techniques by asking for a small innocuous request to begin with and escalate from there.

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