Is iPhone Separation Anxiety Real?

in Article, News
February 25th, 2015

iPhone-Separation-Anxiety-1Have you ever searched for a ringing phone, feeling your anxiety increase with each ring? Or experienced a mini heart attack when you thought you lost your phone only to discover it was in a different pocket? Most older generations would criticize you for being so obsessed with technology, but recent studies have shown that ‘iPhone separation anxiety’ is a real disorder – and it is plaguing the younger generations of today’s society.

The average person spends about two hours and fifty-seven minutes on a smartphone or tablet every day. Most of us get stressed out if we misplace our phone, are constantly checking for notifications, and even feel ‘phantom vibrations’ – a sensation that we have received a notification when we really have not. Most people would dismiss this anxiety as an unhealthy obsession with technology, but research has shown that these feelings are legitimate and smartphone separation can have serious psychological and physiological effects.

Russell Clayton, the head author of a study at the University of Missouri says: “iPhones are capable of becoming an extension of our selves such that when separated, we experience a lessening of ‘self’ and a negative physiological state.” In his study, participants were asked to sit at a computer and complete word search puzzles, first with their iPhone in their possession and then without. Researchers found a significant drop in performance, and an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety in those participants who had to solve the puzzle while their phone was ringing and they were unable to answer it.

“The researchers say these findings suggest that iPhone users should avoid parting with their phones during daily situations that involve a great deal of attention, such as taking tests, sitting in conferences or meetings, or completing important work assignments, as it could result in poorer cognitive performance on those tasks.” So if you think turning your phone off or putting it far away from you will help you focus, you might actually be harming your cognitive abilities and decreasing your efficiency.

– Amy Casarella


iPhone Separation Anxiety: It’s A Thing – Science Daily

iPhone Separation Anxiety Is Real, study Says – USA Today

iPhone Separation Linked to Physiological Anxiety, Poor Cognitive Performance, MU Study Finds – MU News

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