A Day on Psychology and Technology - The Weekend University

Explore the neuroscience and psychology underlying our addiction to technology, and learn how to set yourself free.

Are you using technology?

Or is technology using you?

For most of us, the latter is a lot more true than the former.

Research has found that UK adults spend an average of eight hours and forty one minutes each day on screens, check their smartphones every twelve minutes, and log a total of twenty five hours a week online.

And this is no accident…

Giant tech companies are employing some of the smartest people on the planet to hijack your attention, and get it on their platforms.

Using the same tactics as the gambling industry, as well as the latest neuroscience and behavioural psychology, these companies are slowly creating a highly addicted, ‘always on’ society, eagerly awaiting our next notification, email or ‘like’.

There are multiple tactics that companies use to encourage people to play their games, including welcome bonuses. While their are Four Things to Know Before Looking at Casino Welcome Bonuses for people who enjoy casino games, there are concerns about how players manage how much time they spend playing when the gambling industry tries to keep players glued to their screens. But it doesn’t have to be this way…

We can learn how to reclaim our time and attention, so that we get the best from technology, without letting it get the best out of us.

Some social media users are recognizing this and are looking into the likes of Increditools social media bots that process most of the content and likes for them, allowing them to ‘switch off’ so to speak. Meanwhile the bot does the work for them.

For others unable to access this technology, or are simply inn too deep, more work and education needs to be done. In this series of talks, we’ll explore:

  • The Psychodynamics of Social Networking; how social media infiltrates our psyches, taps into our most basic unconscious motivations, and the deeper psychological meanings of our interactions on these platforms – Dr Aaron Balick, PhD
  • The Social Media Addiction Machine; the psychological effects of our changing relationship with social media, what’s really driving our addiction, and how to set yourself free – Dr Richard Seymour, PhD. Social media can be a wonderful thing in small doses. For example, some people may like to visit https://tokupgrade.com/ in order to bring their message of positivity to a wider range of people on TikTok. However, spending all your waking hours on social media is not healthy at all.
  • The Neuroscience of Digital Distractions; how the internet is physically changing the human brain, why digital distractions prevent us from creativity and good decisions, and practical, neuroscience-based insights on how to take back control of your time and attention, without needing to get rid of tech entirely – Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina, PhD

You’ll learn how these insights can transform your relationship with technology, so that it serves you, instead of you serving it.

Event Schedule:

  • 10:00am – 12:00pm: The Psychodynamics of Social Networking – Dr Aaron Balick
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm: Lunch break
  • 1:00pm – 3:00pm: The Social Media Addiction Machine – Dr Richard Seymour
  • 3:00pm – 3:30pm: Afternoon break3:30pm – 5:00pm: The Neuroscience of Digital Distractions – Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina

Full Day Pass: 49.99 (includes VAT + Booking Fee)

Student/Unwaged: 26.99 (includes VAT + Booking Fee)


Sunday 27th September 2020

09:30 – 17:00 BST

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09/27/2020 09:30 AM
09/27/2020 5:00 PM
Online Video Conference
The Weekend University – A Day On Psychology & Technology

Online Conference

Lectures & Speakers

The Psychodynamics of Social Networking – Dr Aaron Balick, PhD

Online social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be seen as a virtual extension of our psychological and emotional selves. They also happen to be an essential technology that mediates our relationships in contemporary society. The architecture of different online social networking sites enable certain aspects of self-expression while inhibiting others. The consequence is that self-expression and online relationships are necessarily altered by what different online social networking sites can or cannot do.

Drawing on insights from his book The Psychodynamics of Social Networking: connected-up instantaneous culture and the self, Dr. Balick will be exploring how online social networking mediates self-expression and interpersonal relationships today. This seminar is an application of contemporary relational psychoanalysis and other related disciplines to modern technology. In this model, online social networking is seen as a product and deployment, however, faulty, of the basic human unconscious motivation to relate to others. The way in which this motivation is mediated through these platforms has important consequences for individuals, relationships to others, and society as a whole.

Reading Recommendations:

Aaron Balick - The Weekend University

Aaron Balick, PhD is a psychotherapist, cultural theorist and author applying ideas from depth psychology to culture and technology. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Department for Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex (UK).

He is a founding member and former executive chair of The Relational School UK. His books include ‘The Psychodynamics of Social Networking: Connected-up Instantaneous Culture and the Self’ and the illustrated children’s self-help book: ‘Keep Your Cool: How to Deal with Life’s Worries and Stress’. ‘The Little Book of Calm’ was released in January of 2018. Aaron is the director of Stillpoint Spaces, a psychology, co-working, therapy, and events hub in London.

The Social Media Addiction Machine – Richard Seymour

Former social media executives tell us that the system is an addiction-machine. We are users, waiting for our next hit as we like, comment and share. Some people might even go as far as using a service like Growthoid in order to get followers. We write to the machine as individuals, but it responds by aggregating our fantasies, desires and frailties into data, and returning them to us as a commodity experience.

This talk will provide an unflinching view into the calamities of digital life: the circus of online trolling, flourishing alt-right subcultures, pervasive corporate surveillance, and the virtual data mines of Facebook and Google where we spend considerable portions of our free time. You’ll learn about the political and psychological effects of our changing relationship with social media, what’s really behind our addiction, and how to set yourself free.

Reading Recommendations:

Richard Seymour - The Weekend University

Richard Seymour is a writer and broadcaster and the author of numerous books about politics, including The Liberal Defence of Murder (Verso, 2008), Against Austerity (2014), Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics (Verso, 2016) and The Twittering Machine (The Indigo Press, 2019). He completed his PhD in sociology at the London School of Economics under the supervision of Paul Gilroy.

In 2005, Seymour’s blog: ‘Lenin’s Tomb’ was named as the 21st most popular blog in the UK, and his writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Jacobin, the London Review of Books, the New York Times and Prospect.

The Neuroscience of Digital Distractions – Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina, PhD

In this entertaining and insightful talk, TEDx speaker, Huffington Post blogger, and author of Homo Distractus, Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina explores how the internet is changing our brain. Drawing on the latest neuroscience research, she explains why our devices are so irresistible, how digital distractions are preventing us from good decision making and innovative thinking and will give practical tips on how to coach your brain to stay focused in the age of digital distractions.

Does it happen to you to go check your email or social media just for a second, and then two hours later find yourself mindlessly clicking on yet another cat video? How about reading something online, and then immediately forgetting what it was about? You are not alone.

Our brain is undergoing a massive transformation as a result of internet penetration. We outsource our memory to our devices and are less and less able to concentrate on something for a long time (when was the last time you could read a book without being distracted?). The real cost of allowing your gadgets to dictate your agenda and behaviour is your depleted ability to make decisions, stay focused, think clearly and creatively, sleep well, and ultimately, manage your own free time and choices. In this talk, you will learn how to take back control of your time and attention without getting rid of your tech.

Videos Recommendations:

How better tech could protect us from distraction – Tristan Harris

How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day – Tristan Harris

Could you live without a smartphone? – Anastasia Dedyukhina

Why screens make us less happy – Adam Atler

Stand Out of Our Light – James Williams

Books Recommendations:

Irresistible: Why We Can’t Stop Checking Scrolling Clicking and Watching – Adam Alter

Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life – Nir Eyal

Homo Distractus: Fight for Your Choices and Identity in the Digital Age – Anastasia Dedyukhina

The Glass Cage – Nicholas Carr

The Shallows – Nicholas Carr

Digital minimalism -Cal Newport

Stand out of our light – James Williams

Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina - The Weekend University

Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina is a coach, TEDx speaker, Huffington Post blogger and author of Homo Distractus. She got rid of her smartphone as well as her senior international career in digital marketing, when she realised how dependent she had become on her gadget. She eventually set up Consciously Digital, a consultancy that helps people develop a healthier relationship with technology and a first ICF-certified training program preparing digital wellness coaches.

She is frequently quoted in the press talking about tech-life balance and is a speaker at major tech events, including World Mobile Congress (Barcelona).

What TWU attendees are saying:

    positive review  Had a great time all week at the Holistic Change Summit, 'attending' the interviews with Niall and his guest speakers. Really great to revisit psychotherapeutic and psychological approaches as well as learning about current and new thinking. Passed the details on to a few clients and interested friends, positive feedback from them too. Thankyou to Niall and all at the Weekend University.

    Jenny Rae Wainman Avatar Jenny Rae Wainman
    September 19, 2020

    positive review  I attended the Weekend university at Birkbeck today. I enjoyed the three speakers. I plan to attend future events.

    Mary Lou Finlan Avatar Mary Lou Finlan
    May 27, 2018

    positive review  Today was my first time at the weekend University really enjoyed the lectures. It was very well organised...

    Tanaz Assefi Avatar Tanaz Assefi
    March 31, 2019
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