This is what a psychologist says
What would you think if a phone could read your thoughts? There’s no doubt that the world is being disrupted at an extraordinary rate. But one Australian research team has discovered that we are not alone in this technology.
The researchers say their research suggests that the smartphone is a useful tool for helping us to do things that we might not normally want to do.
In a fascinating study released today, Sydney University researchers showed how a simple text message can prompt people to take a deep breath and go for a walk.
The message, written in Korean, asked people to write about what they do in their day.
Then, the researchers presented the people with a computer-generated picture of a walking person. Some were allowed to write something other than about their day. For example, they could write about their activities in sports or activities they were involved in at a cafe.
Those who wrote about their day when the phone was ringing said if they would not respond, they might consider going for a walk.
Professor David Stirling, who has collaborated on the project, said the study was the first to use a simple text message as an experimental device to monitor a simple breath-holding exercise.
“The way these studies are often done is to first get the person to think about their activities in the course of the day, the time they spent away from home, the things they are going through that day,” Professor Stirling said.
“They can imagine they might not be doing as much as usual and when the phone is ringing they might be like, ‘You know, I might go outside. It’s really nice to take a walk’ and so on.
“The result is, we have found in the experiment that the person becomes less anxious when their phone is ringing, even if they might not talk about their day.”
The research, published in Psychological Science, has implications for people facing mental health problems and other circumstances that would make it difficult to exercise and think about life at work or out shopping.
A recent Australian Bureau of Statistics survey found that more than one in three Australians would spend up to 18 minutes a day in front of their screens.
But Professor Stirling said the study did not prove the iPhone can read your mind, as the findings were based on a phone with a limited capacity to do much.
He said the next step would be to do an experiment on people’s brains so
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