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iPhone Separation Anxiety is a Real Thing


iPhoneForums.Net News Team
Staff member
Jun 18, 2010
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If you’re someone who gets that slightly “on-edge” feeling if ever you accidentally leave your iPhone at home, it turns out that it’s actually a very common experience, and one that has now been recognised in new research as causing very real “physiological anxiety” and “poor cognitive performance.”

The Huffington Post writes that the University of Missouri’s study, entitled “The Extended iSelf: The Impact of iPhone Separation on Cognition, Emotion, and Physiology,” saw researchers conducting a series of experiments with 40 iPhone users who were taking three journalism courses at a “large university” in the Midwest.

iPhones in particular were chosen for the research because it is easy to disable the phone’s “silent mode.”

Among the experiments carried out by the researchers was having participants complete a puzzle in a cubicle both when they were in possession of their phone, and when they didn’t have their phone with them, because they were told it was causing “Bluetooth interference.” The researchers would then call the removed phone so that it would ring, but the participant could not answer it. During the scenario, researchers monitored participants’ heart rate and blood pressure.

As you might expect, the research found that participants experienced “significant” spikes in anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure when they were separated from their phones and couldn’t answer them when they rang. Their performance completing the puzzle also suffered.

The researchers recommended that “iPhone users avoid parting with their phones during daily situations that involve a great deal of attention,” and that being without your phone can make you feel “a lessening of self.”

One of the researchers working on the study, University of Missouri doctoral candidate Russell Clayton (pictured), told The Huffington Post “our advice would be to carry your iPhone with you, but to silence your phone during cognitively demanding tasks (i.e., work, meetings, exams, etc.) in order to avoid any potential distractions that may reduce your attention throughout the day.”

The study was published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and was awarded the Top Paper Award at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication by the Communication Technology Division in Montreal, Canada.

Picture credit: University of Michigan

Source: iPhone Separation Anxiety Is Real Study Says

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