Pavlok is an innovative wearable device that uses Pavlovian conditioning to break bad habits. Ivan Pavlov was a Russian physiologist famous for conditioning dogs to salivate when they heard the ringing of a bell. When it was time to feed the dogs, Pavlov would ring a bell and then allow the animals to eat. After some time doing this he discovered he could ring the bell and the dogs would salivate and become excited, without any food in sight.  They had been trained to associate the bell with eating, and their bodies would physically react to the sound. Turns out this trick of subconsciously linking unrelated things not only works on our furry friends but on people too, and it can help to alter undesirable behaviors.

The Pavlok is a wristband similar in size to a Fitbit that delivers a 340 volt electric shock anytime you perform the bad habit you’re trying to break. The shock is not painful but is certainly an uncomfortable experience. In just a few days your mind will associate the unpleasant shock with the bad habit and you’ll unconsciously avoid the behavior and lose your craving for it. The device can also vibrate or beep if you want a gentler reminder. Pavlok can sense the movement of your hands and automatically deliver the shock, or you can self administer the shock by pressing a button – which is just as effective at breaking unwanted habits.

Pavlok can help you quit biting your nails, cut back on snacking, control drinking habits, stop overspending, and of course, quit smoking – something that millions of people struggle with throughout their lives. In many cases the desire to indulge in the bad habit is deeply rooted in the subconscious, and you may need a tool that works on that level to retrain your brain.

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