You only need to look around on the train on your way to work to observe the perennial addiction most people have to their mobile phones.
Social thinker Simon Sinek recently went viral for his assertions about millennials and how getting a notification actually releases dopamine in the brain, making it incredibly chemically compulsive.
As well as making us reliant for social gratification, researchers have found an ‘association between heavy smartphone use and lowered intelligence’.
For example if we’re looking for quotes from a book, we can simply type the keywords and the book into Google, and the quote will come up in bold, without you even having to click on a link or read a single page of the book.
After dinner when we’re splitting the bill, instead of working it out in our heads, the phone calculators all come out and our brains don’t get a look in.
The research, carried out at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, found that people see their smartphones as an ‘extended mind’.
Nathaniel Barr, a lead author of the paper, said to the Daily Mail:
Decades of research has revealed that humans are eager to avoid expending effort when problem-solving and it seems likely that people will increasingly use their smartphones as an extended mind.
Our reliance on smartphones and other devices will likely only continue to rise.
It’s important to understand how smartphones affect and relate to human psychology before these technologies are so fully ingrained that it’s hard to recall what life was like without them.
We may already be at that point.
Basically, in order that we don’t become lazy, stupid and distant individuals, we should probably unplug more often.
Next time you’re by yourself waiting for something, try just being in the moment and taking in the night sky rather than automatically checking to see if anyone has liked the Instagram photo you just posted of it.