Survey claims iPhone’s a habit forming brain extension (Updated)

Your iPhone is habit-forming, according to a recent survey of Stanford University students.

The survey revealed that almost one-in-three students fret about becoming addicted to their iPhones, think they may be using them too much and dread becoming “one of those iPhone people.”

Over a third were told off by others for using their iPhone too much. However, nearly 75 percent of the group claimed their phone made them happier and over half of the 200 person group admitted to loving their device.

– 74 per cent agreed the iPhone made them ‘feel cool’ when they got it.
– 75 per cent of students had fallen asleep in bed with their iPhone
– 25 per cent called the iPhone an extensions of their brain or being.

Professor Tanya Luhrmann noted just how far respondents identified with their iPhone, saying, “I think we have not begun to understand the cognitive impact and the social impact” of smartphones.

Stanford University hit the ground running when it comes to the iPhone, introducing its iStanford app in 2008. This app lets students look up anyone in the campus directory and call or e-mail them with a tap on the phone; search for class schedules and e-mail teachers; find campus buildings and view sports results.

Versions of the application (which has been downloaded in excess of 100,000 times) are now in use across the US.

Now consider the words of philosopher, David Chalmers

“A month ago, I bought an iPhone. The iPhone has already taken over some of the central functions of my brain. It has replaced part of my memory, storing phone numbers and addresses that I once would have taxed my brain with. It harbors my desires: I call up a memo with the names of my favorite dishes when I need to order at a local restaurant. I use it to calculate, when I need to figure out bills and tips. It is a tremendous resource in an argument, with Google ever present to help settle disputes. I make plans with it, using its calendar to help determine what I can and can’t do in the coming months. I even daydream on the iPhone, idly calling up words and images when my concentration slips.”

Written (I think) in November 2007 as an introduction to a book called ‘Supersizing the Mind’, author David Chalmers is a philosopher at the Australian National University. He’s also one of the directors of philosophical research org,  PhilPapers.

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