• Technology
  • 27 de April de 2024
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  • 4 minutes read

Social interaction would explain mobile phone addiction

Social interaction would explain mobile phone addiction

Social interaction would explain mobile phone addiction

A study scientifically demonstrates that what makes us addicted is not the mobile phone but the social interaction it allows us

Image: UGR

Scientists from the University of Granada measure the electro-galvanic skin activity, a parameter that is interpreted as an indicator of the activity of our autonomous nervous system, when sending messages via Whatsapp.


Source: University of Granada

A research team from the University of Granada (UGR) has demonstrated for the first time that we are not “addicted” to the mobile phone, but to the social interaction that this electronic device allows us. This work, published in the scientific journal Psicothema, represents the first experimental scientific evidence of this theory, which was developed by Professor Samuel P. L. Veissière, a researcher at McGill University in Montreal (Canada) in 2018.

Image: UGR

To carry out this experiment, UGR scientists worked with a sample of 86 subjects, divided into two groups. “In one of the groups (the social expectation group), we instructed each participant to send a message via Whatsapp to their most active contacts explaining that they were going to participate in an ‘exciting task within a virtual reality environment’ (the same message in all cases),” explains Jorge López Puga, researcher from the Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment at UGR and main author of the work.

The other group (control group) was not asked to send this ‘exciting’ message to their contacts. “Next, we asked both groups of people to turn off their notifications and to leave their mobile phones face down on the table while they were carrying out an unusual activity immersed in a virtual reality environment. When the interaction with the virtual reality task ended, we left the participants doing nothing and unable to use their mobile phones. After this period of ‘doing nothing’, we allowed all participants to use Whatsapp again,” explains the researcher.


Electro-galvanic skin activity

Throughout the process, the UGR scientists were measuring the electro-galvanic activity of the skin, a parameter that is interpreted as an indicator of the activity of our autonomic nervous system. That’s to say, a kind of physiological measure of anxiety.

“We observed that the social expectation group was more nervous throughout the experiment. It was also observed that this group became more anxious when asked to stop using the mobile phone. In addition, when they were allowed to use the mobile phone again, this group experienced a much more pronounced excitement,” says López Puga.

These results highlight that the mobile phone is not the cause of psychological problems but analysing how it is used and what it is used for can help explain certain psychological problems.

Bibliographic reference:

Social Expectancy Increases Skin Conductance Response in Mobile Instant Messaging Users
Ana María Ruiz-Ruano García, Ana Sánchez-Kuhn, Pilar Flores and Jorge López Puga
Psicothema (2023) 35(4) 414-422
Complete article: https://doi.org/10.7334/psicothema2022.362

For more informationhttps://osf.io/rg9wd/

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