Added: Sherron Swiney - Date: 02.10.2021 18:21 - Views: 29059 - Clicks: 5335
How many times have you looked at your phone in the last hour? What about in the last 10 minutes? For many of us, our phones have become an integral part of our day-to-day. Another study even found that half of participants would rather have a broken bone than a broken phone, says NPR. To put it another way: in just 6 years, a single tech device has gone from obsolete to an object people would be willing to give up food, sleep, and sex for, according to USA Today.
Spoiler alert: A lot of it is rooted in psychology and evolution. It happened gradually, starting from a tiny molecule in our brains called dopamine. Think: reconnecting with hood bud, reading a nice text message from a friend, or getting a notification. All of these activities caused the release of dopamine. Our brains are deed to release dopamine when we do something that meets a survival need, like eating or having sex. Countless studies have shown that phone activity causes the release of dopamine in our brains, making us feel aroused, motivated, and happy. But each time you did something that prompted the release of dopamine, your brain started to notice a pattern.
When you perform a specific behavior over and over again that triggers a certain reward, the pattern becomes etched into your neural pathways. Soon enough, your brain begins to crave that reward regularly. So once the impact of the dopamine goes away, your brain will do whatever it takes to get that feeling back, as soon as it can.
Picking up your phone. The thing is, not every text, Facebook post, and Instagram picture will deliver the goods your brain is looking for. Ever find yourself posting something on social media just to feel good? Or sending a bunch of texts to friends, just to feel connected? But why is this happening with phones, and not other devices? What is it about phones that bring us such a surge of dopamine? Take tablets, for example. But the difference between a phone and a tablet is that we tend to use tablets for more personal, passive activities, like watching videos and reading books.
These activities prompt a totally different neurological response, according to Psychology Today. However, we tend to use our phones for a different function. They serve as a portal to connect to our social world. We spend most of our time on cell phones texting, scrolling through social media, and messaging friends. So what does this have to do with dopamine? Turns out, all notifications we get on our phones — from social media, messaging apps, and others — activate dopamine in our brains.
In fact, the most addictive smartphone functions all share a common theme: they tap into the human desire to connect to other people, according to a new paper published in Frontiers in Psychology by Dr. Just like the release of dopamine, our need to be social is hardwired in our brains. Humans have a desire to seek and maintain strong relationships. As humans evolved, they depended on each other Stop looking i am here survive under harsh environmental circumstances.
Those who had stronger connections with other humans had a higher chance of surviving, because they had several people to support them. Particularly, the desire to monitor other humans runs deep in our evolutionary past. As humans evolved, they needed constant input from others to determine culturally appropriate behavior.
This was their way to achieve meaningfulnesslong-term goalsand a sense of identity. This is especially appealing to humans, since our brains are hardwired to find shortcuts to everything to save cognitive energy for other pursuits. And truth be told, this effect is only exacerbated by tech companies.
Several tech companies hire psychologists, neuroscientists, and social science experts to help them create addictive products that keep the release of dopamine going. Okay, so this can all seem a bit scary. But actually, it can be quite comforting. Knowing the psychology behind why we do things can be the first step to stopping our harmful habits. After all, since our smartphone usage is rooted in our evolutionary desires, they must be benefiting us in some way. Keith Hampton of Michigan State University points out that smartphones enable us to stay connected to friends, even after transitioning from school to college or moving to a new city.
Because of that, we can have a wider network of people to confide in, travel with, and learn from. Not only that, but another set of studies showed that just having a phone out say, on the dinner table and present during a meaningful conversation interferes with your sense of connection to the other person. While this article may Stop looking i am here like a grey cloud looming over your head, there are quite a few silver linings. Meaning, we can still stay connected with our friends through our phones and maintain a healthy relationship with our phones at the same time.
In our second article in this series, we give you a guide to developing a healthier relationship with your phone. It might just surprise you. And if you start to work towards decreasing that by just 10 or 20 a day, the benefits may just surprise you too.
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Here’s Why You Can’t Stop Looking at Your Phone