What Technology Does to Your Mind

Luke Lazarus
3 min readSep 4, 2020


Technology is hijacking and manipulating your brain without you even knowing it. Current social media and other Internet entertainment are designed to be as addictive as possible. Companies take a lot of cues from game manufacturers and even Las Vegas. Once you understand how these companies are manipulating, you can find solutions to reclaim your mind. These solutions range from the simple to the ones that require hours of practice and focus every day.

Slot Machine Psychology

The biggest thing that website and app developers use to manipulate you is the concept of slot machine psychology. Once you open a website or your phone, the game usually starts. The notifications you see are generally in the form of an enticing button for you to click. Almost every app has this enticement built-in, and you have to learn how to avoid it if you are to be successful.

Variable Rewards

The bulk of all manipulation is variable rewards. There is a psychological maxim that goes on about how variable rewards are the key to creating addictions. When people do something and get a reward, their brains start to value that reward less and less. If the reward comes too often, people will stop doing the tasks that got them the reward. However, if you make the reward come too late, people will start getting bored, and they won’t want to play anymore. The key is to mix up when the reward comes so that people will not know ahead of time. This is what creates addiction in videogames and other online entertainment. It is one of the most prominent features in Las Vegas slot machines and other gambling technology.


The industry is rife with gamification. It means that almost everything these companies are doing can be turned into a videogame. They treat their apps like videogame designers do and add many psychological tricks to make it addictive. For example, fear of missing out can cause people to check their Facebook and other websites continuously even when there aren’t any updates. This type of addictive behavior is what drives the high valuations of these companies. Gamifying these websites also means making sure that people can compete against others. This competition is what created likes and other metrics that these companies use.

Weapons of Influence

Weapons of influence, like social proof and reciprocity, are also at the heart of how these companies manipulate people. For example, a person who gets a like is more likely to reciprocate to someone else in the future. People are also more likely to try to use these technologies more often when they see their friends on it. It is this keeping up with the Joneses that forces people to engage in this type of behavior. This mental manipulation will continue until people get wise to it and learn how to rise above it.