The Lasting Physiological Effects of Phone Separation
Journal of Advanced Student Sciences (JASS)
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Compulsive cell phone use in college-aged students has been increasingly reported over the past few years. Frequent use has merited past research to examine the immediate physiological changes from cell phone use and/or cell phone separation in order to make inferences about larger social and behavioral trends. Some of these studies have concluded that increased cell phone usage can elicit physiological responses related to addiction and anxiety. This experiment was designed to better understand if a prolonged physiological response in heart rate, galvanic skin response, and respiration rate occurred between two different treatment groups. To obtain the data, nineteen participants were asked to work on a puzzle, with one group of ten participants having their phones lying face down in front of them and the other nine participants completing the same task with their phones on a chair behind them. During both conditions, the participants received an unexpected phone call from the experimenter approximately 150 seconds into the study. The participants were instructed to continue working on the puzzle during the call. Heart rate, galvanic skin response, and respiration rate responses were measured throughout the entirety of the study. Specifically, the researchers are concerned with the difference in time it takes to return to baseline for each physiological variable post unexpected call between the two treatment groups, and hypothesize that the group with their phones in front of them will have prolonged physiological responses. The analysis of the results did not indicate any significant differences in response times of galvanic skin response and respiration rate between the two experimental conditions. There are significant results suggesting that the heart rate is higher among the group performing the puzzle with their phones behind them. With insignificant mean differences in the times for the physiological variables to return to baseline between the two treatment groups, the researchers are not able to make any inferences regarding physiological responses to cell phone use.