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iPhone separation anxiety makes you more stressed: The Extend iSelf Study

Latest research from the researchers at the University of Missouri has come out with not surprising results of iPhone related anxieties prevalent amongst iPhone users. There have been earlier sporadic instances of users developing separation anxieties upon staying away from their handsets for longer periods of time. This time, however, a documented report has confirmed what had been suspected by psychologists and neuroscientists all along.

The study’s lead author, Russell Clayton, who is currently at the University, working towards a doctorate, has elaborated on the findings of the study, thus. “Our findings suggest that iPhone separation can negatively impact performance on mental tasks.”


The findings have only confirmed the penetrative influence which smart phone devices have on our lives. The need to be constantly in possession of a networked device gets cemented and well entrenched because the user starts treating the device as an extension of his own self. This extended self therefore psychologically compels users to constantly be in the device’s vicinity or be in possession of it. As a corollary, when the device is separated from its users, the users’ experience loss of an essential component of their selves which produces a negative psychological state, thus resulting in heightened stress and anxiety.

The above conclusions were reached after the study found out that users engaged in solving simple word search puzzles experienced heightened heart rates and blood pressure alongside anxious and unpleasant feelings when they felt helpless and unable to answer their ringing phones. The extended self mentioned earlier kicks in when the iPhone becomes active, thus creating a compelling urge in the phone’s users to be present and available on their phones. Any separation or denial, thus triggers negative mental states and engenders psychological deprivation.

The study also found that performance was not as negatively affected in a situation where the test subjects had access to their iPhones. The study’s authors have recommended that users may continue to engage with their iPhones as frequently as before, as the study revealed that separation may cause more harm than good to one’s performance especially if one were engaged in complex mental tasks.

The study entitled, “The Extended iSelf: The Impact of iPhone Separation on Cognition, Emotion and Physiology”, was first published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. The study had surveyed 40 owners of iPhone. The participants were made to sit in isolated cubicles and were given to complete simple word search puzzles within five minutes.

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About Sara Rose

She has spent the past 4 years playing the role of an IT consultant, and has now joined The Next Digit as a full time blogger. Her current profession is a result of her deep experience in computer gadgets, laptops, gaming accessories and other tech updates.

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