Study shows health effects of people’s responses to separation from smartphones
Nomophobia – it’s a real word and it means the fear of being without a mobile phone.
A new study from the University of Missouri says people have become so dependent on cellphones that without them, they can perform poorly on everyday tasks. So much so, it might be more productive to always have your cellphone with you.
The study looked at what happens when you take someone’s smartphone away from them and ask them to perform a task. The study found FOMO – another real word – kicks in and not only disrupts our ability the work but can also pose serious health risks.
For the study, a group was first asked to complete a word search while their cellphone lay on their desk. Then, they were told to do another puzzle only this time their cellphones were taken away from then and periodically rang while they worked.
The second group experienced increased heart rates, blood pressure, anxiety and didn’t find as many words in the puzzle.
Psychologist Dr. Jason Leboe-McGowan from the University of Manitoba says because we rely so much on our phones, not being with them can significantly hurt our cognitive skills.
Leboe-McGowan encourages people resist the temptation to constantly go on their phones during moments of downtime such as while waiting in line for coffee.
However, the study suggests the opposite, encouraging people to avoid being separated from their phone during tasks that require a lot of attention. This way they’re not distracted or anxious from being without their device.
A total of 136 people participated in the study.