Montclair State University
Presidential Address: TECHNOLOGY, PSYCHOLOGY, AND SICKNESS
The emergence of technology has far outpaced human evolution—this includes the development of the nervous system and its sensory capabilities. Some technologies present psychological challenges that can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, and disorientation. For example, motion sickness, or kinetosis, is a relatively recent human experience probably coinciding with the invention of the first watercraft only a few thousand years ago. Now however, with increasing technological advances, additional challenges exist that can lead to symptoms similar to motion sickness. Numerous types of vehicles, amusement rides, virtual reality, electronic games, 3D movies, and spaceflight, have all been known to lead to unpleasant symptoms. How are our brains being challenged by these technologies and what are the causes of these different kinds of ‘sicknesses’? A hypothesis will be discussed in the context of human evolution.