Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Digital detox be gone: how your iPhone could make you happy

iphone happiness.jpg

We’ve been told non-stop for what feels like an age that technology is damaging to our health and wellbeing – be it due to the distance it creates in social scenarios, the sleep we lose as a result of it or the reduction in our sexual activity it leads to.

But now, researchers at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business have discovered that – actually – not all technology is bad, and that our iPhones could even lead to increased happiness.

Popular theories suggest that the enjoyment and appreciation of life experiences is curtailed by the strong desire of smartphone users to take a picture for their Instagram account. On hearing this, the university set out to find out how true this theory was.

Researchers, led by Kristin Diehl, associate professor of marketing at the university, conducted nine experiments – three in the lab and three in the field. They set out to test people’s enjoyment of an experience with and without a camera. They found that, contrary to popular opinion, taking photographs actually increases people’s enjoyment of a particular event.

One experiment saw 200 participants head off on a bus tour of Philadelphia. One of the tours allowed cameras and encouraged the taking of photographs, the other forbade them. Those who had the cameras reported a higher enjoyment of the experience, and felt more engaged in it.

photo

In the findings, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Diehl explains that when we take photographs we pay more attention to the subject in question:

“What we find is you actually look at the world slightly differently, because you’re looking for things you want to capture, that you may want to hang onto. That gets people more engaged in the experience, and they tend to enjoy it more.”

Diehl also explains that when we photograph something our attention is directed towards it more than if we weren’t.

Interestingly, this increased enjoyment was not only limited to visual experiences, but also extended to food. When the group was encouraged to take at least three photos of their meals, and researchers found that they became more immersed in the experience.

“If you want to take mental photos, that works the same way,” Diehl says. “Thinking about what you would want to photograph also gets you more engaged.”

There were two exceptions to the findings, though. The first, that photo-taking does damnpen one’s enjoyment when it interferes with the experience, and that using a Go-Pro does not have the same positive effect, because, says Diehl: “It’s when you actively decide what you what to take photos of that you get more engaged.”

We also suspect this does not apply to the taking of a selfie.

Images: Rex Features

Related

32.jpg

The 10 best places for a digital detox holiday

DSC01554.jpg

Embrace a digital detox and find inner peace in the desert

detox.jpg

10 ways to unplug and digitally detox your life

digital detox.jpg

What happened when a social media addict tuned out for two weeks

khaleesi.jpg

Why binge-watching TV online is ruining your sex life

173807237.jpg

Five ways to ensure you de-stress, relax and unwind at the weekend

youve got mail tech.jpg

The art of slow living: how to master a tech-life balance in 2016

ThinkstockPhotos-486645660.jpg

The digital detox plan that won’t send you off-the-grid

ThinkstockPhotos-508380540.jpg

Victim of 'ringxiety'? You might be too needy

ALL.jpg

Meet the most inspiring women on Instagram

More

The deadly secret hidden within that creepy Game of Thrones hug

Spoilers are coming…

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

Why it’s totally fine if you don’t have a ‘work wife’

Having friends at work is nice – but it’s not the be all and end all

by Moya Crockett
18 Aug 2017

Meteorologist’s epic response to troll who called her “disgusting”

“Enough is enough.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
18 Aug 2017

Acts of love, humanity and solidarity following the Barcelona attack

In the darkness, there is light.

by Moya Crockett
18 Aug 2017

How you can help those caught up in the Barcelona attack

The ways you can support the victims, survivors and investigation

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

People are furious about Trump’s response to the Barcelona attack

The world is sick of his double-standard on terrorism

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

Ryan Phillipe on how he tackles depression

“I’m thinking about how to focus and steady myself”

by Susan Devaney
17 Aug 2017

Are black girls being forced to grow up too fast?

A study has shown that black girls as young as five are seen as more adult than their white peers

by Kemi Alemoru
17 Aug 2017

Teen receives sickening messages after asking for career advice

This businessman's response was shocking

by Sarah Biddlecombe
17 Aug 2017

We want everything from this new high-street Disney collaboration

Seriously magical

by Megan Murray
17 Aug 2017