Study: People Separated From iPhones Suffer Psychological Effects

COLUMBIA, Mo. (CBS St. Louis) – A new study finds that people separated from their iPhones could suffer serious psychological and physiological effects.

A study done by researchers from the University of Missouri found that users who were unable to answer their ringing iPhones while solving simple word search puzzles saw increases in their heart rates and blood pressure, while dealing with anxiety and unpleasantness. Researchers also found that the subjects’ performance decreased compared to those who had their iPhones in possession with them while completing similar word search puzzles.

To conduct the study, researchers told participants that the purpose of the experiment was to test the reliability of a new wireless blood pressure cuff. The subjects were then given word search puzzles to complete, the first time with their iPhone in their possession and the second time without it.

Researchers recorded the subjects’ heart rates and blood pressure while they completed the first puzzle with their iPhones. For the second puzzle, researchers told the participants that their iPhones needed to be placed further away from them because they were causing “Bluetooth interference” with the wireless blood pressure cuff.

Researchers found a “significant increase in anxiety, heart rate and blood pressure levels” when they took away the participants iPhones while they were completing the puzzle.

“Our findings suggest that iPhone separation can negatively impact performance on mental tasks,” Russell Clayton, a doctoral candidate at the university’s School of Journalism and lead author of the study, said in a press release. “Additionally, the results from our study suggest that iPhones are capable of becoming an extension of ourselves such that when separated, we experience a lessening of ‘self’ and a negative physiological state.”

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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