In a bad mood? Your smartphone could be to blame
A RESEARCH PAPER from Nottingham Trent University suggests that a third of smartphone notifications could be negatively affecting our moods.
The researchers investigated the effect that mobile notifications had on users’ disposition. The study involved 50 participants receiving thousands of alerts over a five-week period. Of over half a million notifications, 32% resulted in negative emotions, which made users feel hostile, upset, nervous, afraid or ashamed.
To measure this, researchers created an app called NotiMind. The app collected data relating to the phone’s notifications as well as the participants’ self-reported moods at various points during the day. Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that work-related notifications – especially those arriving in bulk – had a negative effect on mood. But more worryingly, notifications related to non-human activity such as general phone updates or Wi-Fi availability seemed to have the strongest and worst impact on the spirits of users, suggesting that the phones themselves might actually be mildly detrimental to our wellbeing. However, it wasn’t all bad news: participants seemed to respond positively to receiving messages from friends – especially those in bulk that created a sense of belonging to a social group.