Your phone is keeping you informed, right? It isn’t like being an alcoholic, or pursuing compulsive gambling. Or, is it?
Smartphone addiction isn’t something everyone perceives as a veritable problem. Most of us have a moderately healthy relationship with our device. That being said, we’ve all been in that conversation when the other person (or ourselves) suddenly seems worried or disinterested, and picks up their phone to scroll on through.
Some people are simply annoying- they have no manners. But for many, the power to check out what could be going on online is too powerful to resist. And there are reasons for it.
A recent article on NPR.org discusses how the sounds of notifications on our smartphones have turned us into Pavlov’s dogs. Ivan Pavlov was a famous Russian psychologist who discovered through experiments with his dogs that sounds can be associated with pleasure.
He sounded a buzzer and then gave his dogs food, and the dogs soon began to drool at the sound of the buzzer, even when they weren’t given the food.
Our phones buzz to let us know we have a message, or something new has popped up, and we’ve become addicted to the sound. It may be good news or bad news, but it doesn’t matter. The ping itself is making our brains release dopamine. In fact, some experts go so far as to claim that we become more excited at the mere prospect of good contents in a message, than we are when we actually read the message. Or, check out the notification.
What can you do to regain some control? Try going for 24 hours without your devices, once a week. Power down. Let your mind think for itself, and regain the right to a peaceful mental space.
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