Addicted to Your Phone? Blame Your Personality

You might be impulsive and impatient: study
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2016 3:44 PM CDT
Addicted to Your Phone? Blame Your Personality
A woman checks her cell phone in Brazil.   (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

There's no denying that humans are mad for their cellphones, but some are clearly more attached than others—and scientists now have a clearer understanding of why. Generally speaking, people who constantly check their phones have a problem controlling impulses, period, and they're not so great at delayed gratification, either, reports Bustle. Once a person of this nature checks their phone, it triggers the impulse to keep checking it again and again, even if the reward will be a paltry one, say psychologists Henry Wilmer and Jason Chein of Temple University in a post at Science Daily. They drew the conclusion after putting 91 undergrads through a series of tests that measured how often they checked their phones, how well they controlled their impulses, and whether they'd prefer to receive a small amount of money immediately or a larger sum if they waited a few days to a year.

Among other things, Wilmer and Chein found that students who were least interested in waiting for that hypothetical sum of money—in other words, they were impatient—were more likely to check their phones frequently. "Mobile technology habits, such as frequent checking, seem to be driven most strongly by uncontrolled impulses and not by the desire to pursue rewards," Wilmer concludes in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. A post at Cosmopolitan draws a lesson from the research: "If you're the type to never let a retweet remain un-liked or a friend request go unnoticed, take a peek at some other areas of your life," writes Katherine Schreiber. "If you're having trouble reining in urges—to, say, eat the whole pint of ice cream, resist ordering one more round, or flip out at a coworker or friend—it may be time to take a break from your smartphone and start practicing some self-regulation." (Some people have "ringxiety.")

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