Wearable technology is becoming more popular and primarily has been used to help us stay connected and track data we create. Pavlok uses an electric shock to use social media and biometrics to train new habits through Pavlovian negative reinforcement.
How does Pavlok work?
Pavlov is a wrist band wearable technology that like the Fitbit or Jawbone keeps track of your day to day actions using GPS, an accelerometer and a connection to WiFi. Unlike these other wearables Pavlok also has an electric shock it can issue if certain parameters are met, such as not checking in at the gym. It also integrates social media and allows friends that you have made an agreement with to form certain habits to issue shocks if you do not keep up.
Would electric shocks really help?
Under tradition Pavlovian conditioning negative reinforcement, or punishment for an undesired result, can be useful for changing behavior. Some people simply snap a rubber band for the same effect but Pavlok might be more reliable. Another aspect is that if the user gets tired of the shocks they can simply take the device off. Pavlok claims that they also use positive reinforcement which is proven to be more successful.
When is the device available and how much will it cost?
For the autumn of 2014 Pavlok will be available from a crowd funding project and should be released to the general public in early 2015. It will cost $250.
With the plethora of wearable technology coming on the the market many claim their tracking of biometrics to be an aide for making a change but few go as far as Pavlok. If the idea of having a bit of extra help forming new habits gets you excited the Pavlok might be the extra shock you need to make a change for the better.