back to article Computers are 'electronic cocaine' that make you MANIC

Some human brains just can't handle the constant stimulation produced by computers and the internet thanks to our evolutionary history, a respected psychologist has warned. "The computer is electronic cocaine for many people," Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of the Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of …


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  1. MrT


    ...must . post. something...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quick...

      Is this the result of those little gold and silver badges? Not cool! And who approves these posts?! >:(

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: Quick...

        Nnnooo, it's making a subtle joke about the article.


      2. frank ly

        Re: Quick...

        "And who approves these posts?! >:("

        Are you new here? If so, welcome. Say something interesting and stimulating, now!

      3. Euripides Pants

        Re: Gold and Silver Badges

        Badges? We don't need no steenkin' badges!

        Wheres the Bogart icon?

    2. IainT
      Thumb Up

      Re: Quick...

      Nice one.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quick...


      I hope Eadon and RICHTO read that article!

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Quick...

        If Eadon and RICHTO post in the same thread, do they annihilate eachother?

  2. Mad Hacker
    Thumb Down

    He's justifying his lack of effort...

    Ok, so he's chosen not to user a computer much (email once a day??) or even have a smart phone and never works from home. Then he uses his credentials to try to argue that no, his not lazy or technically challenged, he is doing it for the sake of brain health and so should we all!


    1. David Webb

      Re: He's justifying his lack of effort...

      Nope, he is arguing that whenever we find something new on the internet we go WHEEEEEEE and our brain produced crack cocaine or something (may have misread that part) but also, when the constant reminders "Your trial ran out 7,521 days ago" - "EMAIL BRIAN, YESTERDAY, IMPORTANT!" we get annoyed and irritated and microwave unicorns to relieve the stress. Of course, I may have totally missed the point of the article, which if I has, is annoying, where's that frikken unicorn gone?

  3. ravenviz Silver badge

    At my desk the urge to 'fix quickly' gives a real adrenaline surge that I can feel. It makes me shake, probably not good.

    Is it a desire to perform, or a fear of not performing?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You seem to have used the term "Psychologist" instead of the correct term Trick Cyclist.

    I think that should be fixed.

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    It's mania, Jim. But not as we know it.

    You are right Bones, I have it. Can I put my redshirt back on, now?

  6. koolholio

    Psychologists can read the DSM-V manual, particularly Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD)...

    But trick cyclists are usually the ones doing the work? ^_^

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I thought the Psychologists were trick cyclists, as they don't have a real job, they just do made up stuff like talking about links between violence and computer games, violence and movies, addiction and something or another.

      Psychiatrists are doctors who deal with mental illness?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is akin to the difference between a scientist specialising in human biology and a medical doctor.

        Anyone who is still practising Freudian/Youngian psychology is a quack though.

        1. frank ly

          "Anyone who is still practising Freudian/Youngian psychology is a quack though."

          Quite correct. The genuine ones practice Fraudian/Jungian psychology.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Quite correct. The genuine ones practice Fraudian/Jungian psychology."

            I may have misspelt Jungian but my point still stands. I'm assuming the downvotes are from reg readers who choke on their tea at the thought some psychology actually has a scientifically rigorous methodology behind it. Also, if you're going to be a pedant make sure your own spelling is correct.

        2. Euripides Pants

          What about those of us practicing Reverse Psychology?

          1. Noons

            Those practicing Reverse Psychology or Reverse Engineering, have got it backwards...

            Re-verse Poetry isn't so hard,

            You just say it one more time.

            The one big advantage

            Is that it always does rhyme.

            Re-verse Poetry isn't so hard,

            You just say it one more time.

            The one big advantage

            Is that it always does rhyme.

            But it tends to be quite boring...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @Noons: Downvoted for making me want to scratch my brain out.

            2. jukejoint

              RE Re-Verse Your Poetry @Noons

              I've written a ghazalion of those.

  7. Herby

    Less clinical methods...

    Then there is the opposite: Caffeine, which is provided as well (usually for free in most work settings) to enhance the work flow.

    Some of us to not imbibe in ETOH (C2H5OH) as much. There are better activities to counter depression. I'll leave those to another (probably NSFW) discussion. Suffice it to say that it works quite well.

  8. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Connected life: Imagine a Gotlib comic parading in front of your eyes, forever.

    Come to think of it, that should read input buffer cocaine rather than electronic cocaine, because "electronics" is how it is implemented (hopefully we will see photonics before I meet the bearded guy in the sky) but the input buffer is what overflows, constantly.

  9. Oninoshiko

    Can I has his job?

    "I've made a conscious decision to live a life that is not driven by someone else's priority."

    Damn, can I have a kooshy UCLA professorship? Oh, got to go, my boss is telling me to get my ass back to work, lest I have much more time not driven by his priorities.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not the computers

    It's the damn fools operating them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not the computers

      I dunno… I swear with the cost cutting these days they're coming out of the factory minus the power button. Just a detector to see when they're taken out of the box to know when to turn on, and never turn off.

      At least that's how it appears the way some people act with their devices.

      Me, I'm known to take my (personal) laptop home from work (yes; I bring my own), and have it stay in the bag with me not touching a computer the entire weekend until Monday morning when I get my laptop back out again.

  11. Snipp

    I was doing rails of Linux all last night.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I saw someone in the club last night snorting a Nokia Lumia off a toilet seat.

  12. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Does this mean I can sue The Register for being digital coke dealers? Yippee! How much am I in line for? <Muttley>Gimme, gimme, gimme!</Muttley>

    Then, when I'm rich, I can blow all the money on analogue coke instead. Much healthier...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Avoid too much novelty and overstimulation...

    Read El Reg's comments section. Same old shit every day.

  14. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Being serious for a minute.

    I fully agree with the statement that 'switching off' from the internet is essential.

    However the marketing/advertising execs want us to be forever consuimng content and thus the ads for their clients.

    All the social networks (IMHO) are trying to make us feel inadequate if we haven't posted/tweeted etc in the last few hours.

    These are indeed the pushers of the modern age. Being addicted to the internet is not that uncommon. People with a sometimes morbid fear of being out of communication and being unloved by your online friends is all around us. Just look at those hunched up over their phones/tablets/laptops on your next journey to/from work or simply walking down the street.

    I'm probably as guilty as many others for doint this at times. But at least I know that sometimes I overdo it. Then I stop everything and go for a long walk/bike ride/go birdwatching etc. Last year I went on holiday to a place with no internet and patcy mobile phone coverage. Absolute bliss but half of my party were clearly suffering from going cold turkey from the internet/mobile phones after a few days.

    Not all so called advances in technology are good for you.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have you ever met a psychologist ..

    "Have you ever met a psychologist who wasn't a raving nutcase, because I haven't", Partick Moore

    Mark Lawson Talks To... Sir Patrick Moore

  16. Instinct46


    This is stupid, ...all human brains react and become addicted to different electrical impulses.

  17. Crisp

    Screw Electronic Cocaine

    From observing my co-workers, it's more like electronic pot.

  18. Fading


    "postulates that computers activate dopamine producers in the older parts of our brains, the medulla and cerebellum. These can start dopamine production"

    And he has tested his hypothesis how? Ohh he hasn't just assumes it's correct and then prescribes a solution. I would take this with a pinch of salt but that causes all manner of problems for my leech cure all.

  19. P. Lee

    Ever noticed

    Slot machines have lots of brightly coloured changing lights? In fact, modern ones don't have spinning wheels, just pictures of spinning wheels.

    Christmas tree lights, live flames and televisions are also mesmerising.

    There does seem to be a thing about changing light patterns holding people's attention.

    I wonder if e-ink can do the same?

  20. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Its not

    only pyschological effects... increased stress can lead to nasty physical systems such as blocked arteries


    <<desperately trying to find a way to sue his employer after recent heart surgery

  21. Robert Helpmann??


    This same research came out back when the electric light came into general use and has been repeated with every new technology since. While I think it is a Good Thing™ to step back and relax, this comes across as a bit of a tempest in a teapot.

  22. Anonymous Coward


    "With Apple, "i"device is the reward. You essentially become addicted to "i"device"


  23. Joe User

    "driven by our ancient desires"

    Suddenly, I'm craving a beer and a bacon sarnie....

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