Monday, July 18, 2011

Mindfulness Pills- The Experiment Setup

So for my self experiment, I took some non-pharmaceutical “smart pills” and made them into focus, energy, calmness, and happiness pills- pills that I could take when I felt a negative emotion creeping up that I wanted to combat. The cool thing is, these pills can talk to my phone!

You may wonder why I would even think of doing this. One of the inspirations is the placebo effect. We know that for many diseases, taking a sugar pill that you think will help you WILL alleviate your symptoms. Wearing a medical device, even if its turned off, WILL help your health. Even though the device or inert pill isn't providing any sort of intentional therapy, it has a huge impact on health.

With this in mind, Proteus Biomedical ran an experiment where people who were dieting got packs of tic tacs labeled “willpower” and took an amount of them each morning corresponding to how much willpower they thought they’d need to get through the day. We heard remarkable stories about feats they’d achieved with their “enhanced willpower”- extending far beyond just dieting.

I wanted to extend that experiment; so I targeted four negative emotions that I wanted to both track and see if I could combat:

for a distracted, unproductive state
Will Power/Energy
for facing a daunting task
for stress or anger
for sadness

I hoped that I could use this system to not only make myself mindful of and track negative emotions, but that the ingestion ritual would give me the feeling of an emotional “power up” to combat these feelings.

The magic in the experiment came from the system I used to do it- I used Proteus Biomedical technology, so every time I took a pill, the timestamp was captured. The patch I wore on my torso not only picked up when I took pills, but also got activity levels, sleep length and quality, and heart rate. The result was a readout of whenever I felt the negative emotions I was interested in, as well as the biometric background for these feelings.

No comments:

Post a Comment