Have you ever noticed yourself checking your smartphone a little too often? According to Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppeler, authors of ‘The Change Book: Fifty Models To Explain How Things Happen’ (Profile Books), each time we see that ‘new mail’ sign or hear our phone buzz, we receive a small dose of dopamine in our brains, which results in feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. As we want to experience these positive feelings again, we repeat our actions and check our phones for new messages and emails, and more dopamine is released until eventually the action becomes an addiction.
This could explain why many of us don’t want to have our phone out of sight at the risk of missing our pleasure ‘fix’. Our phones sit next to us on desks, dinner tables and sofas and when we socialise with friends and partners, but although we enjoy the action of receiving messages through our mobile devices, it could be damaging to our personal relationships. Research at the University of Essex has shown that despite the mobile phone’s obvious ability to facilitate human interaction, it also has the power to disrupt it. Face-to-face conversations can be spoiled simply by the mere presence of a mobile phone, with conversation quality, closeness and social connection all suffering.