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Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked

By Adam Alter

Irresistible Alter article

By reverse engineering behavioral addiction, Professor Alter explains how we can harness addictive products for the good ... and how we can mitigate their most damaging effects on our well-being, and the health and happiness of our children.

Welcome to the age of behavioral addiction—an age in which half of the American population is addicted to at least one behavior. We obsess over our emails, Instagram likes, and Facebook feeds; we binge on TV episodes and YouTube videos; we work longer hours each year; and we spend an average of three hours each day using our smartphones. Half of us would rather suffer a broken bone than a broken phone, and Millennial kids spend so much time in front of screens that they struggle to interact with real, live humans.

In his latest book, Professor Adam Alter tracks the rise of behavioral addiction, and explains why so many of today's products are irresistible. Though these miraculous products melt the miles that separate people across the globe, their extraordinary and sometimes damaging magnetism is no accident. The companies that design these products tweak them over time until they become almost impossible to resist.

By reverse engineering behavioral addiction, Professor Alter explains how we can harness addictive products for the good—to improve how we communicate with each other, spend and save our money, and set boundaries between work and play—and how we can mitigate their most damaging effects on our well-being, and the health and happiness of our children.
 

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Watch Professor Alter discuss a few concepts from Irresistible:







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Adam Alter is an Associate Professor of Marketing with affiliated appointment in the Psychology Department.