NOMOPHOBIA, A NEW SYNDROME

Have you ever felt great fear of being without your mobile phone?

Recent studies confirm an increasing syndrome named nomophobia which means “no-mobile-phone-phobia”.

Fear, anxiety, distress and panic attacks are symptoms that some people experience when not having their phone. Symptoms that may lead to other side effects, such as tremors, sweating, dizziness, trouble in breathing, nausea, chest pain, heart rate acceleration even symptoms of dependence.

As everybody knows the smartphones have increasingly become the tool we use to navigate and organize our daily lives. Thanks to these we can keep our calendars, get directions, and communicate instantly with others, they helping us to answer any questions… our dependence on devices is clear!

But nothing is free because this dependence has important psychological consequences. The researchers on transactive memory find that when we have reliable external sources of information about particular topics at our disposal, then this reduces our motivation and ability to acquire and retain knowledge about that particular topic. The fact is that when it comes to the acquisition and retention of information, our brains treat our devices like relationship partners as researchers revealed.

An interesting research was developed at Iowa State University, in order to design and validate a 20-question measure called the Nomophobia Questionnaire (or NMP-Q). The participants indicate the extent to which they would agree with the following statements: I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone; If I were to run out of credits or hit my monthly data limit, I would panic; I would feel anxious because I could not check my email messages; I would feel nervous because I would not be able to receive text messages and calls.

 At the end it was possible to identify four components of nomophobia:

  1. Not being able to communicate with people
  2. Losing connectedness in general
  3. Not being able to access information
  4. Giving up on convenience

Piercarlo Valdesolo [Accesed: 1st June 2016]

In those terms the mobile seems to be part of our survival, that’s why we feel lost and experiment severe anxiety without it. Indeed survival is the first and the most important instinct in animals and humans, our reptilian brain has a very long history…

Ruth Talavera Flores

RUTH1

Research Associate & IRIANS’s Representative for

the Iberian Peninsula and Mexico

IRIANS- The Neuroscience Institute

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