Over-stimulation through Technology

Groups have a major influence on people. They can lead to both destructive behaviors and constructive behaviors. It is not a black and white issue.  There are many different ways that groups influence their members. Deindividuation Theory states that the lack of individual attention from being part of a group causes the members to have less self control. Social Identity Theory states that group membership is made more salient by confrontation with other groups. They feel a stronger sense of identity from an opposing group than they would from a group with similar beliefs. Suggestion Theory states that the crowd’s ideas and emotions come from an archaic shared unconscious. The crowd is limited by the cognitive abilities of the least capable in the group. Freudian Theory states being part of a crowd unlocks the unconscious mind. A charismatic leader replaces the superego.  All of these theories help to prove that groups do indeed have a major influence on the behaviors of individuals.

A problem behavior today is people over-stimulating themselves through technology. The theories that explain the background of why people practice this problem behavior is Deindividuation Theory(Leon Festinger), Social Identity Theory (Tajfel and Turner), and the Freudian Theory (Sigmund Freud). A student survey along with primary sources will show how these theoretical perspectives contribute to why people over-stimulate through technology. It will also show how people don’t have as much control as they think they do which leads them to have even less control. Knowing that we don’t have as much control as we think we do, as well as what leads us to do what is not in our self interest, is the key to having as much control over ourselves as we can.

A problem behavior among people in first world countries is that people over-stimulate through technology. This is a problem because the people are not actually enjoying the youtube video itself they are just looking forward to the next youtube video. The feeling of stimulation is based on something good that will happen in the future. The problem is the future is an illusion and will never come. Ten seconds from now may seem like the future but if in ten seconds a person asks someone if it is the future he will say no. Basing happiness on the future is basing happiness on something that does not exist. Happiness is only to be found in the now.

Freudian Theory states that in crowds the superego is replaced by a charismatic leader. The charismatic leaders in this case are the people who market this stuff. They trick us into thinking the internet and tv will bring us happiness because they want to get our money. The reason why people continue to use these technological stimulations is because they become addicted to it and they confuse their addiction for happiness. Suggestion states that “the crowd’s ideas come from an archaic shared unconscious.” In evolutionary times we had to think of the short term because the goal was just to survive from day to day by getting food and avoiding being eaten. Today since we don’t have to worry about a lack of food or getting eaten. People have long term goals but the problem is that our brains were evolved for success in archaic times.The reason why our evolutionary mind fails us today is because we have the cognitive ability to have and accomplish big goals but big goals take years to accomplish and our evolutionary mind wires us for instant gratification.  Even though consciously people know that in the long term they’ll be happier by doing hard work, subconsciously they care more about the short term and since our subconscious evolutionary mind controls 90% of our thoughts words and actions usually our short term goals win over our long term goals. The evolutionary mind uses technology as a vehicle to gain instant gratification. Our mind’s and technology don’t mix well.  “As regards intellectual work it remains a fact, indeed, that great decisions in the realm of thought and momentous discoveries and solutions of problems are only possible to an individual, working in solitude.”


Our most valuable commodity is time. One can make more money but one cannot make more time. One can make enough money to outlive his own life but one cannot add enough to to his life to outlive eternity. A person who is ten years younger than Donald Trump and has a zero dollar net worth is richer than him because in ten years he could become just as wealth as he is IF he uses the time correctly. Unfortunately people waste their time on the internet that is time they can spend becoming rich, gaining spiritual enlightenment, finding a cure for cancer, achieving master in an area but instead they are checking out their friend’s facebook status. This is equivalent to winning the lottery and investing it all in penny stocks. Just like the person who won the lottery got lucky we are lucky to have the time we have here on earth and have the potential to do what we can do. Other species don’t have the cognitive ability to do what we can with our time. People take this amazing gift that they have and waste it on technology.

Deindividuation Theory states that the crowd weakens self control and rational forethought. People generally don’t do hard drugs because of all the negative health effects. That is a rational decision. People however do the lower form of stimulation which is technology. Spending time on the internet for the purposes of stimulation is obviously the wrong decision because doing something such as achieving mastery in an area brings more happiness than watching a youtube video. The gap of positive emotions between a typical person and a person who has achieved mastery may be the same as the gap between someone who does hard drugs and a typical person. The reason why people are logical

enough to not to hard drugs but not logical enough to avoid excess use of the internet is because they justify their negative behavior by reminding themselves that everyone else excessively uses the internet. In fact they use the same justification as the people who do hard drugs because people who do hard drugs usually have friends who do hard drugs. There is a small difference in the amount of self control that the people who do drugs have and the people who excessively use the internet have.

I choose the questions that I choose to see if people try to exaggerate about being more of something even if that something is not necessarily good. I gathered the information through facebook, asking people at the mall and asking classmates. Although the stereotype is that the poor are more likely to steal since they need the money and the rich are more likely to give since they already have a lot of money, there are often times rich people who steal and poor people who give. The federal government has trillions of dollars but yet they steal from the social security fund. Jesus was poor but yet he gave his life. The type of people who participated were teenagers because I asked people on facebook and in school and most of the people in my school and most of my facebook friends are teenagers.

The intelligence poll was “What is the average IQ.” The answer choices were A) 90 B)85 C)100 D)120 E)112. The moral ethical question was If you saw a charity box with one hundred dollars and no one was watching would you A)Put in $55 B)Put in $10 C)Leave the box alone D)Steal $10  E)Steal $55 Based on the theories that we’ve studied I believe that

participants will answer mostly E because they want to go towards the extreme of whatever they feel that they are. I believe that the people will choose C for the intelligence question because groups are known for getting the right answer.

For the intelligence question 15% said A. 20% said B. 35% said C. 13% said D. 17% said E. The participants were mostly accurate. The highest percentage went to the right answer but even most of the others picked an answer the was close to the right answer. The

number that was furthest away from the right answer got the least amount of votes. For the results of the moral question 45% answered A. 25% answered B. 5% answered C. 6% answered D. 19% answered E. The majority of the participants chose the answer that was towards the extreme end of the moral good side. Second place was the answer that was toward the extreme end of the moral bad side. The least popular answer was the most moderate answer which was to leave the box alone.

This data shows how people want to differentiate themselves from even members of their own crowd in order to feel special. They don’t just want to feel special among members of other crowds but they want to individually feel special when they are with the members of their own crowd. To feel special they go to the extreme of what it is they already are. This explains why people waste time on the internet so much. If they just used a little bit of time on the internet they would feel like everyone else. They need to do it more than they think everyone else does to make themselves feel important.

There are many solutions to solve the problem of over stimulation through the internet. One can be to gain spiritual enlightenment, to always be in the now and realize that circumstances and events don’t matter and therefore stimulation is pointless because one realizes that he or she already has what he or she needs and doesn’t need anything from technology to stimulate him or her. Another one is to have a life purpose that is so strong that one  doesn’t have time to waste on technology. One would want to make a great life for himself so he can be in the best position to give his gift as effectively as possible so he wouldn’t to fill his mind up with garbage. A solution can be to live in a cave, live without technology and try to eat as little as possible to avoid being inadvertently stimulated by the food. The reason why there are so many solutions is because this is not a white or black issue. People like to rely on simple saying such as “happiness comes from within” for the solution to a problem. The solution is extremely complex and has a lot of grey area. No one saying, one speech, one book, one anything will cover all of the solutions. Self Development covers all of the solutions and it is so complex that it should be taught from K to 12 because it is more important than any other topic. A less extreme solution could be to mandate that the english books that are read all be about self development. A way NYC can get to this point is by calling the local city council people and telling them to put self development into the school curriculum. This is not as hard as it looks because the people only have to do it on the city level since the city controls education. The people don’t need the rest of the country to get on board. If the people just focus on this city than the rest of the country can see how well the self development curriculum is working out and implement it themselves. People could make posters supporting a self development curriculum. They can go and brag to everyone how many phone calls we made to enact the self development curriculum which will cause other people to want to make more phone calls to strengthen their sense of identity.

This solution can lead to people not using technology as a source of stimulation before this is even implemented because making sure we have self development in the school will be a life purpose for some people which will distract them from the technology. After it is implemented perhaps they’re life purpose will evolve into self development speaking. It will also lead to kids growing up and instead of talking about their dreams for the sake of being stimulated they are actually going to be making progress on them before they are even teens.

People over-stimulating themselves through the internet is an extremely big problem. People aren’t even having fun. They are just addicted to it. It took good time management and lot of hard work for the people to create the innovation of the internet. Ironically now the internet is robbing people’s time to do great things. There are millions of new inventions that probably have not been created because of the internet. The good news is it doesn’t have to stay this way. We can rise up and take our power back by defying societal norms and limiting our internet use.


Work Cited