Technology plays complicated games with your mind! Product Designers play to your psychology in a bid to grab your attention. This makes you spend more time on your mobile than you’d have otherwise wanted.
According to Tristan Harris – Google’s former design ethicist, one of the most profound ways they do this is by turning your mobile into a slot machine. How is it a slot machine, you ask? You see, an average person tends to check her phone 150 times a day. Out of these, she only sees a new or useful notification in a few of them. While she believes that she is making a conscious decision each time she checks her phone, the truth is that it’s really not her decision anymore. It’s because of her deep-rooted addiction.
Apps nowadays use intermittent variable rewards to maximise addictiveness. When a person checks her phone, it’s like playing a slot machine with notifications, emails, messages and news feed items as the reward. She doesn’t know if anything would come up or not and according to research, this uncertainty amplifies her addictiveness. This gives her enough of a dopamine kick to make her keep coming back.
Fortunately, there’s a hack to counter this hack. In his blog, Harris suggests a number of tips on how to combat your phone addiction, in one of which a simple colour can trick your brain into listening to you again.
This colour happens to be the Gray-scale filter that’s readily available on most of our phones. Harris says that going Gray would certainly make those slot machine rewards look an awful lot less appealing.
If you have absolutely any other method that cures our compulsive notification checking, then please do tell us! We could definitely do with checking our phones a bit less. Okay, maybe a lot less.