Natasha Dow Schüll

Natasha Dow Schüll is a cultural anthropologist and associate professor at MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society. Her recent book, ADDICTION BY DESIGN: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas (Princeton University Press 2012), draws on extended research among compulsive gamblers and the designers of the slot machines they play to explore the relationship between technology design and the experience of addiction. Schüll’s research was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among other sources. The National Science Foundation funded her three-year research project on neuroeconomics — an emergent discipline that joins brain-screening technology and techniques to economic conceptualizations of behavior in an attempt to pinpoint the neural correlates of human choice-making. Her current research project, and the subject of her next book, considers how a range of emerging digital self-tracking technologies — from breath sensors to digital pedometers to neurofeedback devices — are changing the way that we understand and govern ourselves. What new modes of introspection, experimentation, and self-governance does this technology engender, and what might they reveal about changing cultural values, political contexts, and understandings of the self? At MIT, she teaches the courses “Technology and Experience,” “Neuroscience and Society,” and “Self as Data.” Schüll’s research and op-eds have been featured in such national media venues as 60 minutes, The New York Times, The Economist, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, Capital Gazette, Financial Times, Forbes, Boston Globe, Salon, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Daily Herald, Las Vegas Sun, NPR, WGBH, and WNYC.

MIT News: Understanding gambling addiction
The Agitator: Natasha Schull’s Refreshing Skepticism on Gambling Addiction Intervention

Social Studies of Science: The Shortsighted Brain: Neuroeconomics and the Governance of Choice in Time

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