Pavlok is a product which is essentially a shock bracelet for Aversion Therapy. It markets itself as an intervention for a range of habits, including procrastination and nail-biting.

Is there any evidence that giving yourself a shock, when you catch yourself procrastinating or when someone else catches you procrastinating, will give you an aversion to the activities used for procrastination? Is it possible the person who receives the feedback would just find new activities?

  • $\begingroup$ It mostly depends on the person. $\endgroup$
    – Sikku
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 17:13
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    $\begingroup$ If you look carefully at Wikipedia's article on aversion therapy, most of the sources are extremely dated and few if any are reviews. I $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Fizz thus my concern about the claims of this product. $\endgroup$
    – Seanny123
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 22:57
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    $\begingroup$ Furthermore, see ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10796558 Give that aversion therapy is questionable for quite a few things, random company claiming their stuff works for something is probably rubbish. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 23:04

2 Answers 2


From a 2014 review article on procrastination that doesn't mention aversive therapy at all, but has this to say about treatment(s) of procrastination in general:

Even though procrastination can contribute to many adversities among those afflicted, research concerning treatment interventions is currently scarce. (Pychyl & Flett, 2012) In terms of clinical trials investigating different treatment interventions, there is insufficient knowledge regarding their usefulness (Rozental & Carlbring, 2013). The research also lacks validated outcome measures, randomization, and long-term follow-ups, complicating the results. Treatment interventions stemming from cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) are often considered suitable for addressing problems of procrastination—interventions such as stimulus cues, time management, goal-setting techniques, learned industriousness, automaticity, stimulus control, modeling, performance accomplishments, implementation intentions, success spirals, and fusing (Steel, 2007)—but the evidence for their efficacy is still unclear (Pychyl & Flett, 2012).


The problem with procrastination when it comes to aversion therapy or Pavlok is that it isn't a specific behavior that you're grappling with but a specific series of behaviors that contribute to procrastination. Much of these behaviors are probably under the radar of your conscious awareness and have been going on for a long time. That's not saying that Pavlok can't be effective but you'll probably need to employ other "strategies" to combat this growing worldwide problem.

I highly recommend reading the book "The Procrastination Equation", by Piers Steel for more insight.

One of the hallmarks of procrastination is impulsiveness (doing what feels good or right at the time). These one behavior can be deeply rooted in you're subconscious and if you were looking for a magic bullet to combat procrastination this would be where you'd need to start IMO. This also where Pavlok would fit in perfectly but please don't think that it's the ONLY thing because your old comfort zone will try to reassert itself despite the Pavlok aversion cues IMO.

You'll also need to make the new behavior "feel good" and the only way I know how to do this is through "guided mental Imagery" . The mental Imagery sessions need to simulate as many of your sense as possible and employ strong emotions of joy or satisfaction. Repetition is key. Twice a day is my personal recommendation.

Sorry for being so long winded but I feel aversion therapy and procrastination are a pair that seriously need to start dating! ;-)


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