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At times it feels like the future has arrived in the palm of our hands. Other times, it seems like we are captives of our devices. The iPhone is now 10 years old. Like a Star Trek Tricorder/Communicator, it puts the world’s people, data and information at our fingertips. But, it can also be triggering an addictive response in our brains. Some studies provide both insights and caution.

Our smartphones can affect the pleasure centers of our brains just as special time with a loved one, a good workout or a great meal can. Recent research published by Harvard, Psychology Today and others describes how receiving a text message, sharing a social networking post or liking something on-line can cause a pleasurable dopamine response. In fact, some marketing experts recommend making branded social media posts personal and timely to cause this effect. Millennials may appear to be on the front line of this danger, essentially having grown up with computers and mobile devices. But Gen X and boomers also demonstrate concerning behaviors. For example, a recent Nielson survey showed boomers are more likely to use technology during mealtimes (52%) than millennials (40%) or Gen X (45%).

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Stuart Levine


Credit Union Times

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