Neuroscience explains why people can't put down their phones

Neuroscience explains why people can't put their phones down

SPOKANE, Wash.—Experts said putting down a cell phone could be harder than people think.

Neuroscientist, Dr. Kevin Measor explained that is because when you get a rush of dopamine when your phone goes off.

Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that gets released when people do pleasurable activities.

 

 

Dr. Measor said the dopamine is connected to cell phone usage because people want to interact with other people, and when they do they feel rewarded from the interaction.

“You anticipate getting some cool information when you get a text. So you release this dopamine. And so, it just says pay attention to that sound, rather than everything else that's going on,” said Dr. Measor.

That means, every time people hear a ringtone, their brain releases dopamine in anticipation for the next social interaction.

Experts said that the dopamine rush people get from answering their phones essentially makes people “addicted” to their phones.

This connection is why law enforcement said the smartest decision may be to turn off the ringer of your phone and put it in the backseat where it can’t be reached.

Dr. Measor said breaking the habit could take something more than turning off the ringer.

“The real way to break it is something bad has to happen. Which is unfortunate, right? The reason why so many people will answer their phone and text and do this multitasking in the car is because most people don't actually get in an accident. Usually nothing bad happens,”

Most people don’t feel like they are distracted by their phone in the car, but Dr. Measor said even just a glance at the screen takes your eyes off the road.  

© 2017 KREM-TV


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