Gadgets and electronic devices play an important role in our daily lives but there's been little study showing possible links and effects on health and behavior. Researchers therefore conducted an investigation to understand the impact of heavy usage of smartphones and mobile technology on behavior and mental processes.
Published in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review by psychologists Dr. Henry Wilmer and Dr. Jason Chein of Temple University, the study found that the reasons people keep on checking their smartphones are correlated with impulsivity and impatience.
The research likewise explained that while some people are addicted to using their mobile devices, it is mainly due to unmanaged impulses and not by merely getting a reward from it.
For the study, a series of cognitive tests were given to 91 undergraduate students. The questionnaires sought to know the length of time they spend using mobile phones to check social media updates, post status updates publicly, or just do a simple gadget check.
The questionnaires were also set to assess the student's capability to delay gratification for a bigger reward by giving them hypothetical options between a small amount of money given immediately or a larger sum of money given at a later time. The participants were likewise assessed by their capability to manage impulses and pursue rewarding stimuli.
After the assessment, the results showed that people who are addicted to using and checking their mobile devices are less able to delay gratification.
"Mobile technology habits, such as frequent checking, seem to be driven most strongly by uncontrolled impulses and not by the desire to pursue rewards," said Wilmer. He also added that the results provide proof that increased portable electronic gadget usage links to unmanaged impulse control and unappreciated delayed rewards.
"The findings provide important insights regarding the individual difference factors that relate to technology engagement. These findings are consistent with the common perception that frequent smartphone use goes hand in hand with impatience and impulsivity," said Chein.