The Great Porn Experiment
Published on May 16, 2012
In response to Philip Zimbardo’s “The Demise of Guys?” TED talk, Gary Wilson asks whether our brains evolved to handle the hyperstimulation of today’s Internet enticements. He also discusses the disturbing symptoms showing up in some heavy Internet users, the surprising reversal of those symptoms, and the science behind these 21st century phenomena.
More About Gary Wilson
Gary is host of http://www.yourbrainonporn.com. The site arose in response to a growing demand for solid scientific information by heavy Internet erotica users experiencing perplexing, unexpected effects: escalation to more extreme material, concentration difficulties, sexual performance problems, radical changes in sexual tastes, social anxiety, irritability, inability to stop, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
As a physiology teacher with a particular interest in the latest neuroscience discoveries, Gary was aware that their symptoms might be the result of addiction-related brain changes. Applying the website’s concepts of brain plasticity, many former users have braved withdrawal, reversed their symptoms and restored normal sexual responsiveness.
The site has been linked to from hundreds of threads in forums from over thirty countries, with posts numbering in the thousands. Gary blogs for “Psychology Today” and “The Good Men Project” on the extreme plasticity of adolescent brains, the evolutionary context for today’s flood of novel cyber “mates,” and the neurochemical reasons why superstimulating Internet delivery has unexpected effects on the brain.
Many thanks to Pat Somers of Slow Moving Pictures for the skillful editing of this video.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)