It’s been about 15-minutes since you’ve checked your smartphone. Do your fingers itch to pick it up? You try to resist, but pangs of anxiousness gnaw at you until finally, you give in and check your favorite apps.
It’s not just you. Former Google product manager, Tristan Harris, told Anderson Cooper in a recent 60 Minutes interview that Silicon Valley is engineering apps, smartphones, and other devices to get you hooked. Some programmers call it brain hacking: programmed methods of hijacking peoples’ minds to form a habit. In response to your behavior, design techniques are embedded inside the products to make smartphones so appealing that you will use them, and other devices, more often.
Most people check their smartphones at least every 15-minutes; even when no notifications have prompted them to pick it up. This habit is so deeply ingrained that it’s likely your cortisol levels will rise if you ignore the urge, making you mildly anxious and distracted. Of course, you want to get rid of the anxiety, so you grab your cell phone and immediately feel at peace.