Taking a cue from dog collars that prevent pets from eating soiled toilet paper, Pavlok is a watch that shocks you whenever you want to do something bad. A very extreme approach but one that’s probably effective.
The Pavlok wrist band is named after the psychologist Ivan Pavlov and it follows the rules of classical conditioning therapy. The device administers a 350 shock dose to your wrist that prevents you from indulging in bad habits, like sleeping in, having a midnight Doritos bag or smoking cigarettes.
“Aversion therapy is Pavlovian Conditioning — associate the habit you want to stop, with a negative stimulus (like Pavlok’s shock) for a period of time, for a few days in a row. Rapidly, the brain learns to associate the two stimuli together, and stops liking the habit.”
You can trigger the current yourself whenever you feel like having a cigarette or a cookie, or you can program the device to prevent you from sleeping in. If you want the help of other people, your friends and family can download the app to help out. Or torture you. It depends on their sense of humor.
Inventor Maneesh Sethi explains that the Pavlok wristband was born due to his addiction to social media, needing something that actively encouraged him to quit checking his news feed. “I wrote a blog post where I hired someone to slap me every time I went on Facebook, and my productivity skyrocketed,” he said in an interview with ABC News.
While Pavlok sounds like an effective solution for training your body to reject something, a large amount of self-control and monitoring is needed for it to succeed. At the end of the day, you can always take off the device if you think you’ve had enough.
The Pavlok wristband is available for $200 on Amazon.