Phone Addiction Is Attributed To Urge To Seek New Information, Study Shows

In Education

Researchers from the University of Granada discovered that contrary to common belief, people are not addicted to their phones per se. Instead, the study reveals that the addiction is fueled by the social interactions facilitated by the phones, challenging the notion that the devices themselves are the primary cause of society’s dependence on technology.

Urge to check messages leads to phone addiction

In 2018, Professor Samuel P.L. Veissière introduced a theory that was recently tested by the UGR team. The study, led by Jorge López Puga, involved 86 participants divided into two groups. The social expectation group was instructed to message their most active contacts on WhatsApp, inviting them to participate in an “exciting task in a virtual reality universe.”

Two groups were involved in an experiment, with one group sending messages while the control group did not. Following this, both groups turned off their notifications and placed their phones face down during a virtual reality activity. Subsequently, they were deprived of phone access and later permitted to resume using WhatsApp.

The study conducted by López Puga revealed that the social expectation group exhibited increased tension during the experiment, particularly when instructed to refrain from using their mobile phones. Upon regaining phone access, this group displayed heightened emotional arousal. The findings challenge the prevailing notion of “phone addiction,” emphasizing that mobile phones are not inherently problematic. Instead, the study suggests that it is the specific ways and reasons for using these devices that may contribute to psychological issues, fostering a more nuanced perspective on digital habits.

Endless possibilities offered by phones responsible for addiction 

A recent study conducted in Denmark corroborates previous findings, indicating that the primary factors contributing to phone addiction are the limitless opportunities these devices offer individuals in their daily lives.

The desire to check emails or social media notifications, according to philosopher Jelle Bruineberg from the University of Copenhagen, is not driven by information overload. Even when not actively using our phones, the urge stems from the anticipation of new information. Cognitive neuroscience suggests that this yearning for novelty is a fundamental aspect of human cognition.

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