Is the World Addicted to Smartphones?According to David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, the addictive nature of cellphones today trains your brain to respond instinctively to these pings. It triggers a response of receiving a reward if you do respond to the phone. Consider the case of a recent individual in Iowa who pulled over to text message a client and then pulled back on the road. When the client responded, the woman was unable to ignore the incoming ping and ultimately ended up in an accident where she killed a 75-year-old man travelling on a tractor due to her distraction.
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Desire for Dopamine Triggers Response to Phone PingsAccording to Greenfield, who also works as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, this desire to respond to the incoming pings is primarily because of a compulsion to answer it. It turns out that your cellphone may be affecting your brain without you even fully realizing it. When you hear an incoming text, email or social media update, your brains may get a small hit of dopamine. Most people are familiar with dopamine as the chemical that leads to an energized circuitry in your brain. That burst of a potential reward such as thinking about who may have recently tagged you on social media or has sent you a text message actually leads to a higher burst of dopamine than checking the phone itself does. Greenfield states that dopamine reward centers of the brain are the same ones linked to deriving pleasure from alcohol and drugs, procreation and eating.
Answering That Text Could Lead to an AccidentBut smartphones are just the latest habit feeding into the desire for dopamine. It’s important to remember that multitasking behind the wheel is an illusion. Even using a hands-free phone can be just as dangerous. According to research from the University of Utah, using a hands-free device while driving still slowed down drivers’ reaction time and in fact drivers reacted more slowly than if they had been legally drunk. Multitasking, particularly when you are operating a vehicle at the same time, is something that should be avoided. Using your cellphone at all behind the wheel of a car can dramatically increase your chances of being involved in an accident. If your distracted driving leads to a critical incident in which others are injured or killed, you may even be held accountable in a Florida court and be facing potentially criminal charges as well. This is why it is always best to just turn your cellphone off or put it in airplane mode while you’re driving. There are also plenty of modern applications that prevent the ability of using your cellphone while you’re driving. Putting the phone out of your reach as well or turning it off while you’re operating a vehicle is a great way to stay focused on the road. Far too many individuals overestimate just how much looking at their cellphone for a couple of seconds can distract them from the road ahead. All it takes is a couple of seconds to be involved in a critical car accident that could claim the life of somebody else or injure you and the passengers inside your vehicle.
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