Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

  • Why Are We So Drawn to Our Smartphones?

Why Are We So Drawn to Our Smartphones?

Apr 01 2019 Read 1159 Times

For many of us, 24 hours without a smartphone would be torturous. Scrolling through social media on the train, texting friends about a bad date or taking cute pictures of your pet at every opportunity – smartphones have become a huge part of our lives.  And they’re something many of us couldn’t live without.

But is it simply an addiction to technology? Or society’s influence on us as individuals? Well, apparently not, according to a new study from the University of Arizona. The research into smartphone use suggests that evolutionary history is to blame for humans being so drawn to their phones.

The advent of “technoference”

The study is the latest part of a growing body of research into “technoference” – the potential interference to face-to-face interactions, caused by smartphones and other technology. If you’ve ever got frustrated at a loved one for paying more attention to their phone than to you, you’ve probably experienced technoference.

But, according to the study, published in the ‘Perspectives on Psychological Science’ journal, humans are hardwired to stay connected to others, even if it hinders our close relationships. Professor David Sbarra and his colleagues argue that humans are hard-wired to connect with others.

Smartphones and evolutionary traits

Over the course of human evolutionary history, we have relied heavily on close relationships with networks of friends and family in order to survive as individuals and thrive as a species. These close relationships are based on trust and cooperation, built through the sharing of personal information and responding to others.

Smartphones, and other modern technologies, provide us with constant access to text messaging and social media, making it easy for us to share personal information and respond to others at all times. And our social networks are much bigger than they ever have been, meaning we must spend more time building friendships and maintaining relationships.

“The draw or pull of a smartphone is connected to very old modules in the brain that were critical to our survival, and central to the ways we connect with others are self-disclosure and responsiveness”, explains Sbarra.

However, his team believes this innate draw to socialise could be detrimental to our real-life relationships. Divided attention could leave to conflict within relationships, with 70% of married women in a study stating that mobile phone use often interferes in their relationship.

Of course, advancing technology goes far beyond smartphones, computers and artificial intelligence. ‘Employing the Power of Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry in the Field’ looks at how the latest technology aids chemical identification in high consequence applications.

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