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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020415

Towards Homo Digitalis: Important Research Issues for Psychology and the Neurosciences at the Dawn of the Internet of Things and the Digital Society

1
Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, 89081 Ulm, Germany
2
Key Laboratory for NeuroInformation/Center for Information in Medicine, School of Life Science and Technology, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
3
Department of Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, 80802 Munich, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 December 2017 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Digital Environment)
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Abstract

The present article gives an overview on central challenges humans face at the dawn of complex digital societies and the Internet of Things (IoT), i.e., a world completely connected to the Internet. Among the many challenges to be handled in digital societies is a growing fragmented life style leading to loss of productivity as well as moments for self-reflection. In all this, it is of tremendous importance to understand the impact of digital worlds on our brains and psyches and to reveal possible unintended side-effects of technology use. Does human nature change due to constant interactions with virtual realities? In this context, we also face the challenge to design digital worlds according to our mammalian-emotional heritage deeply anchored in subcortical areas of the human brain. Here, we refer to emotional needs as carved out by Panksepp’s Affective Neuroscience Theory and how they can or cannot be fulfilled in digital worlds. Aside from a review of several key studies dealing with the raised challenges, some first solutions to successfully meet the mentioned problems are provided to achieve sustainable and healthy digital worlds, with whom humans can interact carefree on a daily basis. View Full-Text
Keywords: fragmentation of everyday life; Internet and smartphone addiction; primary emotional systems; neuroplasticity; human-computer-interaction; productivity; future work places; digital depression; digital etiquette; homo digitalis fragmentation of everyday life; Internet and smartphone addiction; primary emotional systems; neuroplasticity; human-computer-interaction; productivity; future work places; digital depression; digital etiquette; homo digitalis
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Montag, C.; Diefenbach, S. Towards Homo Digitalis: Important Research Issues for Psychology and the Neurosciences at the Dawn of the Internet of Things and the Digital Society. Sustainability 2018, 10, 415.

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