Dog trainers, prepare for a taste of your own medicine.
Similar to a shock collar for your disobedient pup, the updated Pavlok bracelet (like Pavlov. Get it?) will give the wearer a 350-volt jolt every time they cross a line.
Looking to quit smoking, reduce cookie intake or stop hitting the snooze button? Engineers at Behavioral Technology in Salt Lake City, Utah, hope their wristband will help you kick the habit.
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The bossy bracelet, $200 on Amazon, delivers a zap at your command. Punish yourself enough, and you’ll feel your urges subside “within 3-5 days,” according to the manufacturer. Though the device can be programmed to shock automatically for some of your bad behaviors, such as sleeping in, those who can’t be trusted to discipline themselves can recruit a friend or family member. They can pitch in by downloading the Pavlok app — and sending a shock on your behalf.
Pavlok creators say their product — which launched in 2012 but is suddenly trending online — helps train your “reptile brain” into associating the unpleasant sensation with your preferred vice.
“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,” the website reads. “Rapidly, the brain learns to associate the two stimuli together, and stops liking the habit.”
Inventor Maneesh Sethi tells ABC News that the shock won’t debilitate you, but it will give you a start. “It feels like if you were to touch a doorknob after rubbing your socks on the carpet,” he says, adding, “there’s a real power in using a little bit of pain to help you break your bad habits.”
Sethi says he was inspired to create the Pavlok after suffering an addiction to social media.
“I suffered from ADHD, and found myself addicted to Facebook. I wrote a blog post where I hired someone to slap me every time I went on Facebook, and my productivity skyrocketed,” Sethi says. “On the other hand, none of my many fitness trackers motivated me at all. So I thought, ‘why are there so many devices tracking what I do, but not changing what I do?’ And Pavlok was born.”
Pavlok’s website touts multiple studies in praise of aversion therapy and testimonials raving of Pavlok’s success. However, LA-based psychologist Dr. Greg Cason is dubious that consumers will have the willpower to follow through with their goals.
“Devices like this don’t really work,” Cason tells ABC News. “Unless they are locked onto people’s wrists, they’re going to take them off.”