Smartphone addicts are more easily hypnotized, study says

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Smartphone addiction and how easy it is for a person to be hypnotized correlate to one another, a study released late last month said.

The study, published in peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Psychology, said that both hypnosis and heavy smartphone use are characterized by similar absorbed states where an individual loses track of time and automatically responds to stimuli.

“There was a positive correlation between hypnotisability and smartphone addiction with a magnitude similar to standard predictors of hypnotisability. This correlation was small but unlikely spurious: it was positive in 10 of the 11 samples (including two from psychology courses) and persisted in a follow-up several months later,” the researchers wrote.

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The team behind the research used their finds to suggest that it would follow that heavy smartphone users may therefore be more prone to bad habits.

“If heavy smartphone use can resemble hypnosis, people who are more hypnotisable may also be more prone to problematic smartphone use, in which phone use interferes with daily life,” the paper read.

The researchers asked 649 participants to fill in questionnaires regarding smartphone use followed by the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility Form A, a scale used to gauge hypnotisability.

Score on the study’s Smartphone Addiction Scale positively correlated with the number of hypnotic suggestions that the participants followed.

The researchers also noted that the level of problematic smartphone use among particpatns was “unexpectedly high.”

“In the current “attention economy”, smartphone use translates into data collection and advertising revenue, giving developers economic incentive to keep users absorbed,” the researchers wrote.

“As digital interfaces continue to become more immersive, so too may users’ absorption, time distortion, and automatic behaviour. The relationship between hypnotisability and problematic smartphone use may thus continue to strengthen, further necessitating interventions to tackle these components,” the paper concluded.

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