I was at the cinema recently and as normal I was struck by the amount of phones in use throughout the film. Now the film in question was great – not the usual mindless Hollywood blockbuster however, but instead a title a bit more heartfelt, a bit grittier. What’s the relevance?
I found that the times when the cinema lit up with people using their phones were the emotional parts. The parts that really needed the cinema-goer to listen in order to get the full impact of what was being said.
Let’s think for a second about the changing habits of television. It is not enough for us to just watch a show at home but many are using their tablet or laptop whilst watching a show. It’s almost as if the passive medium is not enough, but instead we must feel we are participating in some shape or form. The whole notion of ‘double screening’ is actually encouraged with some children’s TV, by starting to build participation via an added screen whether that be smartphone or tablet.
I have noted the effect of our mobile phones, or the notifications they give, are likened to those of a gambling machine – the instant reward generation and the secretion of dopamine in the brain.
Going back to my cinema experience it seems that when we feel emotional, sad or the tension gets too much we reach to our phones for a dopamine fix, or to put it another way: Instant gratification.
The popularisation of smartphones has led to us all being so reliant on the relentless dopamine hits they provide (constantly checking until we get a notification), that we are seeking the instant gratification they provide in all walks of life.
Looking to my blog on psychalive I was ignorant to the hold my smartphone had on me until I tried without it for three days.
What effect does our quest for instant gratification have on us all? I can see an inability to concentrate, distancing ourselves from our emotions and the constant need for approval and excitement.
Do you double screen? Let me know.