WTF Fun Fact 13492 – Information Seeking Behavior

Normally, when we think of smartphone addiction, we think of video games or social media, but information-seeking behavior, such as constantly scrolling through the news, can be hazardous to your health as well.

In our digital age, many people often hear notifications, see never-ending news feeds, and feel the pull to browse news apps daily. This behavior ties into our brain chemistry. Dopamine, a key neurotransmitter, drives our desire to seek information and rewards.

The Role of Dopamine in Information-Seeking Behavior

People often call dopamine the “feel-good” chemical. But it’s better to think of it as a messenger for reward-seeking, motivation, and pleasure. When we experience something pleasurable, our brain releases dopamine. This makes us want to repeat that action.

In the past, dopamine helped us survive. For instance, when our ancestors found food or water, a dopamine rush would push them to keep searching for these essentials.

Why We Seek Information

As societies evolved, so did our dopamine triggers. Now, our brain doesn’t only release dopamine for physical rewards but also for intangible ones like information. Discovering new information gives our brain a dopamine boost. Historically, this made sense. Early humans needed new knowledge for survival, like learning about potential dangers.

Today, each piece of news or an article can trigger dopamine, making us crave more. It’s like how we yearn for food or other activities that make us feel good.

Smartphones: Dopamine Machines

Smartphones and apps capitalize on our dopamine system. Every swipe or notification can be a dopamine rush. The element of surprise—whether the next swipe reveals a meme, a news update, or a message—boosts our dopamine even more.

This unpredictability mirrors slot machines. You never know when you’ll hit the jackpot, making you play more. Likewise, not knowing what the next notification holds keeps us glued to our screens.

However, too much dopamine has its downsides. Over time, frequent dopamine hits from constant scrolling can dull our response. Like how drug users need more drugs over time, we might need more screen time or new information for the same dopamine kick.

This never-ending search for information can overload us. We might struggle to understand or remember what we read. We can even feel mentally exhausted.

Balancing Out Information Seeking Behavior

Knowing dopamine’s role in our online habits can help us use tech wisely. Here’s how:

  • Set Limits: Designate times for browsing news or social media. This reduces the impulse to always check for news.
  • Take Digital Breaks: Stepping away from screens occasionally can help reset our brain’s dopamine response.
  • Choose Wisely: Don’t just scroll. Engage deeply with a few key topics.
  • Control Notifications: Fewer non-urgent notifications mean fewer urges to check your device.

Our relationship with dopamine and information seeking shines a light on our tech habits. Technology offers us endless information, but understanding the dopamine effect helps us use it wisely. By realizing how our brains work in this digital era, we can enjoy tech without letting it control us.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “The Dopamine Seeking-Reward Loop” — Psychology Today

WTF Fun Fact 13023 – The Samsung Butt Robot

Putting your phone in your back pocket is dangerous business (at least for the phone). So to ensure their materials were sturdy enough to withstand the crush, Samsung invented a robotic butt. The Samsung butt robot exerts 220 pounds of pressure on their phones during testing.

How Samsung phones are robot butt-tested

Clad in a pair of blue jeans, the butt repeatedly sits on phone to see how they’ll react to the common real-world beating their bound to take.

According to Tech Radar (cited below), whose writer was invited to tour the facility;

“On a recent trip to Korea, we were invited by Samsung to take a tour of its dedicated testing facility, and as we made our way through the company’s labs (each more diabolical than the last) we came to understand just how seriously the company takes its quality control – even if one of these tests does involve an undeniably quirky robot butt (dressed in blue denim jeans, no less) repeatedly sitting on handsets.”

Other Sumsung quality testing

The facility did a number of quality tests on their phones. They tested durability, sound quality, and battery power, among other important functions.

While we’re sure the phones still break from time to time, they have been through a lot. Tech Radar also reported:

“Using a number of different mechanical devices that look like the world’s most brutal skill testers (including auto drop testers, tumble testers and continuous free fall testers), Samsung’s handsets are repeatedly dropped from varying heights and angles onto a variety of hard surfaces, such as metal and marble.”

The butt test is still our favorite and when the first tech writers got a chance to see it around 2014, the company was met with so much public interest that they finally released a video so people could see it for themselves. Enjoy!  WTF fun facts

Source: “Samsung built a robot butt just to test its smartphones’ durability” — Tech Radar

WTF Fun Fact 12802 – Nomophobia

We’re addicted to our smartphones. And maybe you knew that, but did you know there’s a name for the fear of being without your phone? It’s called “nomophobia,” and 66% of U.S. adults suffer from it.

What is nomophobia?

According to Psychology Today (cited below), “The term is an abbreviation for ‘no-mobile-phone phobia,’ which was coined during a 2010 study by the UK Post Office.”

One of the first studies of nomophobia was commissioned by the UK Post Office and conducted by YouGov. At the time, 53% of UK mobile phone users confessed to being anxious when they “lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage.”

The study also found that nomophobia is actually more common in men – “58 percent of men and 47 percent of women suffer from the phobia, and an additional 9 percent feel stressed when their mobile phones are off.”

A worsening epidemic

Things are even worse in the U.S. Psychology Today reports that “Sixty-five percent, or about two in three people, sleep with or next to their smartphones. (Among college students, it’s even higher.) Thirty-four percent admitted to answering their cell phone during intimacy with their partner…One in five people would rather go without shoes for a week than take a break from their phones…More than half never switch off their phone. (I’d call that an addiction.) A full 66 percent of all adults suffer from ‘nomophobia.'”

Which stat are you most surprised by? For us, it’s the willingness to go without shoes just to spend more time on the phone – have you seen what people throw on the ground?!

Ways of coping

If you experience anxiety without your smartphone, there are a few things you can try, including:

  • Balancing screen time and in-person time with friends and family each week, if possible.
  • Doing a phone detox, during which you turn off your phone entirely for one day each month.
  • Sleeping as far away from your phone as possible.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Nomophobia: A Rising Trend in Students” — Psychology Today