Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone has changed phone technology as we know it since the first of its versions launched in 2007, but the device may also have changed our bodies’ nerve chemistry for good. According to a study by the Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, 76 percent of people have knowingly experienced “phantom vibrations.”
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While the medical concept of phantom vibrations has existed since before the iPhone, the exploding popularity and ease of use of the Apple device, and consequently Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android devices, may have exacerbated it. While the first BlackBerry phones by Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) were also found to lead to phantom vibrations in some users, the device was more complicated and harder to use.
“The iPhone has changed everything about how we relate to technology, for both good and bad,” psychologist Larry Rosen told Bloomberg. Rosen’s research found that almost 30 percent of people born after 1980 feel anxious if they can’t check their Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) page every few minutes and others repeatedly check dress pockets to make sure their smartphone is still there. “That’s the sign of an obsession,” Rosen said.
The increasingly falling prices of smartphones are also adding up to more and more users who get uneasy without their device, Rosen said, making people something of lab rats for those studying psychological effects of new technology. “The great thing about the iPhone is that we carry it with us all day long,” Rosen said. “The bad part is that we carry it with us all day long.”
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