9 November 2020

SWiPE left on alcoholism

RedHerring The Back Page

Melbourne researchers have developed a simple program that promises to give people back their free will by helping train their brain to avoid alcohol.

And when we say simple, we mean really simple…

The system looks a bit like a fair ground game where participants use a literal joystick to select the “good” objects (such as images of water) and push away “bad” objects (images of cold beer).

Wine … bad … water … good … Even drunk people can operate this system.

The psychological training method is called cognitive bias modification.

A study of 300 participants recently published in JAMA Psychiatry suggested that even just four 15-minute sessions over a few days increased abstinence rates by 17% among people undergoing a week-long detox treatment compared with a control group.

The researchers have now created a smartphone app called SWiPE that trains people’s brains by allowing the user to swipe towards “meaningful, goal-related images” like friends and puppies and green tea and swipe away from the evils of the world… i.e. craft beer or tequila shots and double shot lattes.

The Back Page wonders if Tinder has been inadvertently providing a similar brain training service by giving all its users a deep aversion to shirtless men stroking drugged tigers in Thailand or women with one-line bios about loving yoga and going to the beach.

If you see something stupid, say something stupid… Sending tips is a wholesome thing to do. Swipe right and felicity@medicalrepublic.com.au.

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