Today cell phone has become an integral part of human life and imagining a life without such fancy gadgets is impossible. Earlier cell phones were primarily used for communication, but now they have many more applications. This increase dependency on cell phones is no less than an addiction, which is difficult to overcome. To understand what happens when an individual is distanced from its phone, researchers from the University of Missouri conducted a study.
Psychological and physiological effects
The study reveals that cell phone withdrawal can have grave psychological and physiological effects on iPhone addicts, including substandard performance on cognitive tests. Based on these findings, researchers advise iPhone users not to separate themselves from phone, especially while performing jobs that require attention, like while attending a meeting/conferences or tests, as this could lead to poor cognitive outcomes in the tasks assigned.
Lead author Russell Clayton, says the study shows that isolation from iPhones can deteriorate performance on mental assignments. Furthermore, the study proposes that the iPhone can become an integral part of ourselves such that when isolated, individuals often feel a lessening of self and a deteriorated physiological state.
Researchers observed that when iPhone users are forbidden from answering their phone while finding a solution for an easy word search puzzle, their blood pressure and heart rate increased and so did the feelings of unpleasantness and anxiety. Moreover, total count of words found in such puzzles dropped in contrast to when iPhone users solved these puzzles with the liberty of answering their phones.
In a media psychology lab, researchers for the study made iPhone users to take a seat at a computer cubicle. The participating iPhone users were informed that they were being part of an experiment that examine the accuracy of a latest wireless blood pressure cuff.
Researchers kept a track of the heart rate and blood pressure of participants that were engaged in solving a word search puzzle in the presence of their phone while solving another in the absence of their phone and vice versa. Participants were also asked to report their anxiety or how they felt (pleasant or unpleasant) while solving the puzzle.
Also, in the presence of their phone, participants were told that their iPhones are causing Bluetooth interference with the wireless cuff and so they are requested to keep their phone away in the room for the rest of the experiment. Participants were then presented with a fresh word search puzzle to solve. While they were busy solving the puzzle, researchers made calls to participants’ iPhones. Soon after the phones finished ringing, researchers collected fresh blood pressure and heart rate readings. They also asked participants to report their feelings (pleasant or unpleasant) or anxiety levels that they felt while working on the given puzzle.
As expected, researchers recorded an increased level of blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety and a noticeable drop in the puzzle performance when the participants were distanced from their iPhone in contrast to when when participants finished puzzles, while in the presence of their iPhones.
The study definitely indicates that with new technology that claims to make our lives simpler, it is actually making us more dependent on things. Is it that hard to be away from your phone for some time? Well, indulging in some alone time without any fancy gadgets once in a while will help us overcome such unnecessary addiction.
Source: University of Missouri