Hypernatural Monitoring

Hypernatural Monitoring: A Social Rehearsal Account of Smartphone Addiction is a research paper from two researchers at McGill University in Montreal. The authors outline how our social tendencies combine with smartphone technology to lead to excessive status monitoring.

The full paper is worth reading and is written in pretty clear language. What I find worthwhile is how, rather than place the blame solely on technology, the authors dig into how conditioned behavior and devices interrelate. The core of the authors’ argument boils down to this:

We suggest, rather, that it is the social expectations and rewards of connecting with other people and seeking to learn from others that induce and sustain addictive relationships with smartphones…We add that comparing ourselves to others and against cultural norms also enables us to derive meaning, motivation, purpose, and a sense of identity. With socially connected smartphones, this evolutionary process simply runs on overdrive.