Some people will try just about anything to break a bad habit—and that now includes a gadget that promises to help people retrain their behaviors using mild vibrations and painful zaps. Named after the Russian physiologist who introduced the world to Pavlovian classical conditioning and its subset aversion therapy, the Pavlok wristband helps attach a negative association to an action as people shock themselves every time they engage in behavior they want to stop. And while the science is still out on any long-term effects, the New York Times collects anecdotal reports about people using it successfully to quit smoking and cut back on snacking—along with some skepticism about the need for this $199 gadget.
Creator Maneesh Sethi has also introduced the ShockClock to help people get out of bed, though Fortune has mixed reviews, noting that there are obvious workarounds to being shocked—such as sleepily taking the wristband off or sleeping through it. The zap lasts for less than a second, and its severity is programmable, with a broad range of 50 volts (a "strong vibration") to 450 (being stung by a bee with an XXL stinger), reports Cosmopolitan. For certain habits, the aversion is programmable, as the wristband can detect, say, nail biting, but not everyone's convinced it's worth the price tag. "The most clever thing about this gadget is the name," neuroscientist Dr. Peter Whybrow tells the Times. (This man's nail biting ended up killing him.)