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欲罢不能:电子设备为什么让我们上瘾

更新时间:2017-3-10 9:42:25 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Why We Can’t Look Away From Our Screens
欲罢不能:电子设备为什么让我们上瘾

In a new book, “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” social psychologist Adam Alter warns that many of us — youngsters, teenagers, adults — are addicted to modern digital products. Not figuratively, but literally addicted.

在新书《不可抗拒:成瘾科技的兴起和让我们欲罢不能的生意》(Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked)中,社会心理学家亚当·阿尔塔(Adam Alter)发出警告,称我们——不管是儿童、青少年,还是成人——中有许多人对现代电子产品上瘾。这不是比喻,而是真正的上瘾。

Alter, 36, is an associate professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University who researches psychology and marketing. We spoke for two hours last week at the offices of The New York Times. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity and brevity.

36岁的阿尔塔是纽约大学斯特恩商学院(Stern School of Business at New York University)一名研究心理学和营销的副教授。上周,我们在《纽约时报》的办公室里进行了两个小时的交谈。为了表述的清晰与简洁,我们的谈话经过了编辑和缩减。

Q: What makes you think that people have become addicted to digital devices and social media?

问:是什么让你觉得人们已经对电子设备和社交媒体上瘾?

A: In the past, we thought of addiction as mostly related to chemical substances: heroin, cocaine, nicotine. Today, we have this phenomenon of behavioral addictions where, one tech industry leader told me, people are spending nearly three hours a day tethered to their cellphones. Where teenage boys sometimes spend weeks alone in their rooms playing video games. Where Snapchat will boast that its youthful users open their app more than 18 times a day.

答:过去,我们认为上瘾大多和化学物质有关:海洛因、可卡因、尼古丁。如今出现了一种行为成瘾现象。这表现在,一位科技行业领袖曾告诉我,人们每天有将近3个小时是花在手机上。十几岁的男孩有时会独自在房间里玩数周电子游戏。Snapchat会夸耀自己的年轻用户每天打开app的次数超过18次。

Behavioral addictions are really widespread now. A 2011 study suggested that 41 percent of us have at least one. That number is sure to have risen with the adoption of newer more addictive social networking platforms, tablets and smartphones.

行为成瘾现在真的很普遍了。2011年的一项研究显示,我们中41%的人至少有一种成瘾行为。随着更多更新的成瘾社交网络平台、平板电脑和智能手机被采用,那个数字势必还会上升。

Q: How do you define “addiction?”

问:你如何定义“成瘾”?

A: The definition I go with is that it has to be something you enjoy doing in the short term, that undermines your well-being in the long term — but that you do compulsively anyway.

答:我理解的成瘾必须是你在短时间内乐于去做、但从长期看会损害你的健康的事——但你还是会强迫性地去做。

We’re biologically prone to getting hooked on these sorts of experiences. If you put someone in front of a slot machine, their brain will look qualitatively the same as when they take heroin. If you’re someone who compulsively plays video games — not everyone, but people who are addicted to a particular game — the minute you load up your computer, your brain will look like that of a substance abuser.

在生理上讲,我们易于对这类体验上瘾。如果你把一个人放到老虎机前,他们的大脑状态看起来跟吸食了海洛因的人差不多。如果你是一个会不由自主玩电子游戏的人——不是所有人,而是对某种游戏上瘾的人——那么从打开电脑的那一刻起,你的大脑就变得跟一个瘾君子一样。

We are engineered in such a way that as long as an experience hits the right buttons, our brains will release the neurotransmitter dopamine. We’ll get a flood of dopamine that makes us feel wonderful in the short term, though in the long term you build a tolerance and want more.

我们生理结构决定了,只要一种体验击中了对应的按钮,我们的大脑就会释放神经递质多巴胺。我们会获得大量多巴胺,这让我们在短时间内感觉非常棒,尽管从长远看你形成了一种耐受性,会想要更多。

Q: Do the designers of the new technologies understand what they’re doing?

问:新技术的设计者们知道自己在干什么吗?

A: The people who create video games wouldn’t say they are looking to create addicts. They just want you to spend as much time as possible with their products.

答:创造电子游戏的人不会说他们期待人们上瘾。他们只想让你花尽可能多的时间在自己的产品上。

Some of the games on smartphones require you to give money as you play, so they want to keep you playing. The designers will build into a game a certain amount of feedback, in the same way that slot machines offer an occasional win to hold your interest.

智能手机上的某些游戏要求你付费,所以他们想让你一直玩下去。这些设计者会在游戏中注入一定量的反馈,这跟老虎机偶尔让你赢一把以保持你的兴趣是一样的。

Not surprisingly, game producers will often pretest different versions of a release to see which one is hardest to resist and which will keep your attention longest. It works.

不足为奇的是,游戏制作者往往会预先测试不同版本的新发行产品,看看哪个最让人难以抗拒,哪个让人们保持注意力的时间最长。这的确有效。

For the book, I spoke with a young man who sat in front of his computer playing a video game for 45 consecutive days! The compulsive playing had destroyed the rest of his life. He ended up at a rehabilitation clinic in Washington state, reSTART, where they specialize in treating young people with gaming dependencies.

写这本书时,我和一个小伙子聊过,他曾在电脑前连续玩了45天的电子游戏!这种难以控制的游戏行为毁掉了他的其他生活。他最终去了华盛顿州一家名为“重启”(reSTART)的康复门诊,那里专门治疗有游戏依赖症状的年轻人。

Q: Do we need legislation to protect ourselves?

问:我们需要立法来保护自己吗?

A: It not a bad idea to consider it, at least for online games.

答:不妨考虑一下,至少对网络游戏。

In South Korea and China, there are proposals for something they call Cinderella laws. The idea is to protect children from playing certain games after midnight.

在韩国和中国,有人提出设立“灰姑娘法规”。其理念是保护儿童,避免他们在午夜之后玩某些游戏。

Gaming and internet addiction is a really serious problem throughout East Asia. In China, there are millions of youngsters with it, and they actually have camps where parents commit their children for months and where therapists treat them with a detox regime.

游戏和网络成瘾在整个东亚都是一个非常严重的问题。在中国,有数百万青少年存在这种问题,那里实际上有一些训练营,父母会让孩子在这种地方待上几个月,治疗师会用一种戒瘾法给他们治疗。

Q: Why do you claim that many of the new electronic gadgets have fueled behavioral addictions?

问:你为什么说许多新的电子设备助推了行为成瘾现象?

A: Well, look at what people are doing. In one survey, 60 percent of the adults said they keep their cellphones next to them when they sleep. In another survey, half the respondents claimed they check their emails during the night.

答:这个,可以看看人们在做些什么。在一项问卷调查中,60%的成人表示他们在睡觉时会把手机放在身边。在另一项调查中,有一半的受访者称他们会在夜里查看邮箱。

Moreover, these new gadgets turn out to be the perfect delivery devices for addictive media. If games and social media were once confined to our home computers, portable devices permit us to engage with them everywhere.

此外,这些新设备被证明是成瘾性媒体的最佳传输设备。如果说游戏和社交媒体以前还是被限制在家用电脑内,手持设备则允许我们随时随地接触它们。

Today, we’re checking our social media constantly, which disrupts work and everyday life. We’re becoming obsessed with how many “likes” our Instagram photos are getting instead of where we are walking and whom we are talking to.

如今,我们会不断查看社交媒体信息,这扰乱了我们的工作和日常生活。我们变得特别在意自己在Instagram上发布的照片获得多少“赞”,而不是关注我们正在走过的地方和正在与我们交谈的人。

Q: Where’s the harm in this?

问:这么做有什么危害?

A: If you’re on the phone for three hours daily, that’s time you’re not spending on face-to-face interactions with people. Smartphones give everything you need to enjoy the moment you’re in, but they don’t require much initiative.

答:如果你每天有三小时时间花在手机上,那就有这么多时间没有与人面对面进行交流。智能手机给你提供享受当下所需的一切,但它们不要求你有太多主动性。

You never have to remember anything because everything is right in front of you. You don’t have to develop the ability to memorize or to come up with new ideas.

你再也不用去记任何东西,因为一切都摆在眼前。你不用发展记忆或想出新点子的能力。

I find it interesting that the late Steve Jobs said in a 2010 interview that his own children didn’t use iPads. In fact, there are a surprising number of Silicon Valley titans who refuse to let their kids near certain devices. There’s a private school in the Bay Area and it doesn’t allow any tech — no iPhones or iPads. The really interesting thing about this school is that 75 percent of the parents are tech executives.

已经去世的史蒂夫·乔布斯(Steve Jobs)在2010年接受采访时曾经谈到他自己的孩子不用iPad,我觉得这很有意思。实际上,有数量惊人的硅谷巨子不让自己的孩子接触某些设备。湾区有一家私立学校不允许携带任何电子设备——包括iPhone和iPad。真正有意思的是,这所学校有75%的家长是技术公司高管。

Learning about the school pushed me to write, “Irresistible.” What was it about these products that made them, in the eyes of experts, so potentially dangerous?

正是对这所学校的了解促使我写了《不可抗拒》这本书。这些产品到底有什么特质,会让专业人士觉得它们有十分大的潜在危害?

Q: If you were advising a friend on quitting their behavioral addictions, what would you suggest?

问:如果让你给一位朋友就戒掉行为成瘾出主意,你会提什么样的建议?

A: I’d suggest that they be more mindful about how they are allowing tech to invade their life. Next, they should cordon it off. I like the idea, for instance, of not answering email after six at night.

答:我会建议朋友们更注意他们在允许技术怎样干扰自己的生活。第二,他们应该设置警戒线,把它隔离开。我会喜欢这样一些点子,比如晚上六点之后不回邮件。

In general, I’d say find more time to be in natural environments, to sit face to face with someone in a long conversation without any technology in the room. There should be times of the day where it looks like the 1950s or where you are sitting in a room and you can’t tell what era you are in. You shouldn’t always be looking at screens.

总之,我会建议找更多时间待在自然环境里,在没有任何技术设备的房间里与人面对面坐下来长谈。一天里应该有一些看起来像是在上世纪50年代的时间,或说你坐在房间里不知道自己身处什么年代的时间。你不应该一直盯着屏幕。

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