Is your smartphone already in your hand when the alarm goes off in the morning? Is it the last thing you check before you go to bed?
Your attachment to your phone – whether you follow social media or gaming – can tell something about your personality: You may be more inclined to make impulsive decisions and want instant gratification.
Research by the Free University of Berlin has shown that “as the screen time of the smartphone increases, so does the tendency to choose smaller immediate rewards over larger delayed rewards”. The study was published online this week in the journal Plos One.
While smartphone addiction is debated, previous studies have shown that a preference for smaller, immediate rewards – called “delay rewards” – is related to other negative behaviors such as excessive drinking, gambling, and substance abuse. Their study went one step further and linked smartphone overuse with impulsive decisions.
“Our results provide further evidence that smartphone use and impulsive decisions go hand in hand,” researchers Tim Schulz van Endert and Peter Mohr told CNN. “People who are already aware of their impulsive decision making can benefit from knowing their increased risk of smartphone overuse.”
Smartphones are ubiquitous in industrialized countries. According to the latest surveys, according to the study, 76% of adults and 80% of young people have a smartphone. According to the study, the average smartphone owner spends between 4.7 and 8.8 hours per day on the device. An incredible 33% of us grab their phones within five minutes of waking up, while over a third of teenagers and 26% of parents check their phones at night.
Lead author Schulz van Endert told CNN that the impulsive choice depends on two factors – your self-control and the ability to imagine possible outcomes of your behavior and future consequences. Study participants with less self-control tended to use their smartphone more often, although this group could still imagine the potential for poor results from their behavior.
Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that social media and gaming apps, both of which offer satisfaction in terms of “likes” and “rewards” or “bonuses,” are the most commonly used on smartphones. Social media apps were displayed on more phones of the study participants (87%) than on games (40%). Social media also accounted for more time (46 minutes) than games (35 minutes). However, the study found that shopping apps that were shown to be addictive did not predict delay discounts.
“Our results suggest that particularly heavy social media users and gamers should consider their tendency to be attracted to smaller, more immediate rewards,” the researchers concluded. “Alternatively, people who are already aware of their impulsive decision-making can benefit from knowing their increased risk of smartphone overuse.”