This is fascinating. Eric Barker quotes from Martin Lindstrom's book Brandwashed when he suggests that rather than being addicted to our phones, we're actually in love with them. When our phones go off, fMRI brain scans apparently illustrate a flurry of activation in the brain's insular cortex, which plays a key role in functions usually linked to emotion:
"In short, these participants didn’t demonstrate the classic brain-based signs of addiction to their iPhones. What the sights and sounds of a ringing or vibrating cell phone did reveal, however, was that our study subjects loved their iPhones; their brains responded to the sound of the phones the same way they would respond to their boyfriend, girlfriend, niece, nephew, or family pet. In short, it may not be addiction in the medical sense, but it is true love."
We're used to (or at least should be by now) thinking about mobile devices as highly personal. As well as an instrument of continuous connection, they are a device that carries all of our most important contacts, photos of our kids, our favourite music, and so on. But love? Perhaps when you consider that the mobile is the device through which we connect with all the people who matter most in our lives most commonly this is not as surprising as you might think. But it emphasises again that this is no place for stomping in with your size 9 marketing biker boots.