How iPhone Is Reprogramming Your Brain (Imagining Vibrations/Rings?) + Poll
How many times have you caught the “iPhone tick”? When you feel like your leg is vibrating – even when your iPhone isn’t in your pocket. Or when you perceive a noise from the other side of the room, heck in a room not even remotely close, that you thought was your phone going off but was really a random noise that in reality doesn’t sound as similar to a smartphone vibration as initially perceived. Sound familiar? That’s only the tip of the iceberg as your iPhone continues to reprogram your brain with each new major feature. [Vote on the poll at the bottom of this post.]
Over time, your iPhone (or any phone for that matter) has become so integral to your daily operation that it is essentially an extension of yourself as your mind learns to search for vibrations that would indicate a call, text, or notification since you are practically always attached to your phone. If this has led to more than a few false perceptions, join the club. It’s been proven by scientists to be a totally natural response to the dependancy.
A Spring, Massachusetts Baystate Medical Center study found that 76% of respondents have been mental victims (okay, victim is a little too rough) of what the study calls “phantom vibration.” For a speculative scientific explanation of exactly what’s going on, “it’s the result of random nerves firing, biochemical noise that our brains tuned out until they were reconditioned by the iPhone.”
Having a part of us functioning for the purpose of communicating signs from our phones, going as far as to do so even when we don’t have our phone on us, is not where the effects on our brains end. Another study by Larry Rosen, author of iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us, found that about 30% of people born prior to 1980 feel anxious if they are not able to access Facebook “every few minutes.”
As I am sure is perhaps most common, people will also feel their pockets quite constantly to make sure that their phones were not left behind. These all quite compellingly have ties with obsessive compulsive disorder, as they are repeated patterns of impulsive behavior.
As we rely on our phones to do more and more, our brains will continue to adapt. We could reach the point where we cannot do anything without checking with our phones, including completing even the most mundane aspects of our daily routine without app or Siri guidance, or clearing time for a hobby.
Right now, we seem to already be more encompassed in capturing and planning the moment than actually being in it. We need meticulous texting conversations, Facebook invites, and online recommendations to plan an evening, which are then followed up by evenings spent obsessively taking photographs and using our phones as a means of social interaction.
For better or worse, phones are taking us over. And quite frankly, we seem to prefer living that way. Is it an improved form of life? Depends which generation you ask, though most people born during this personal computing revolution would say yes.
It turns out we do have a sixth sense that will rapidly evolve to become part of us: smartphones.