With iPhone day upon us, plenty of us are waiting with bated breath for what the iPhone 5 will truly be like. Perhaps you’re waiting with more than just bated breath — the New York Times has it that you’re in love with your iPhone. Really?
All told, it reads similarly to an older study conducted on Apple fanboys to determine that their obsession was tantamount to religious devotion. Branding consultant and author Martin Lindstrom gathered a group of 16 young adults and exposed them to audio-visual cues from an iPhone. What he found surprised him:
In each instance, the results showed activation in both the audio and visual cortices of the subjects’ brains. In other words, when they were exposed to the video, our subjects’ brains didn’t just see the vibrating iPhone, they “heard” it, too; and when they were exposed to the audio, they also “saw” it. This powerful cross-sensory phenomenon is known as synesthesia.
But most striking of all was the flurry of activation in the insular cortex of the brain, which is associated with feelings of love and compassion. The subjects’ brains responded to the sound of their phones as they would respond to the presence or proximity of a girlfriend, boyfriend or family member.
Which makes me think of the crazy things we do for the people we love and how breaking up is hard to do. How I might have had something of a technological infatuation with my first iPhone, but by now my iPhone 4 and I have a steady working relationship that’s perhaps less intimate. But fanboy/girl zeal being as fervent as it is with this announcement around the corner, I’m not sure I’m that surprised with Lindstrom’s findings.
And that’s the thing, isn’t it? I don’t consider myself a fanboy, but I’m undoubtedly changed by my phone. Studies like this don’t really tell me anything new about myself, nor do they really tell me about what loving your phone means to that person. I wish they did. Loving a family member and a girlfriend are two different things. And then Lindstrom very quickly resorts to advising people find love and compassion the “old-fashioned way”, which really sounds a lot like “back in my day” old man grumbling. Real, honest-to-goodness relationships are important. But isn’t love itself the bigger picture here?
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