Do you remember life before the Internet? Do you remember when you first got dial up? And then when cable internet first came along? And each time we were so excited. And then the excitement faded. Whatever change we experienced soon became the new normal. This is called adaptation-level phenomenon.
In 2015, Louis C. K., on Conan, gave us several good examples of adaptation-level phenomenon. He said, “Everything is amazing right now, and nobody‘s happy.” He blames it on the current generation. I blame it on being human.
After playing this 4-minute clip for your students, ask your students to work in pairs or small groups to generate other examples that illustrate adaptation-level phenomenon. Ask volunteers to share their examples.
Vacuum cleaners? They were originally billed as a labor-saving device. But we adapted to them pretty quickly, and the end result? Standards of cleanliness went up. Washing machines? Same thing (Roy, 2016).
[Shout out to my sister, Carol Laughlin, for sending me the video!]
Roy, R. (2016). Consumer product innovation and sustainable design: The evolution and impacts of successful products. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.