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A new study of dysfunctional use of smart technology finds that the most addictive smartphone functions all share a common theme: they tap into the human desire to connect with other people. The findings, published in Frontiers in Psychology, suggest that smartphone addiction could be hyper-social, not anti-social.

We all know people who, seemingly incapable of living without the bright screen of their phone for more than a few minutes, are constantly texting and checking out what friends are up to on social media. These are examples of what many consider to be the antisocial behavior brought on by smartphone addiction. But what if we were looking at things the wrong way? Could smartphone addiction be hyper-social, not anti-social?

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Professor Veissière, a cognitive anthropologist who studies the evolution of cognition and culture, explains that the desire to watch and monitor others – but also to be seen and monitored by others – runs deep in our evolutionary past. Humans evolved to be a uniquely social species and require constant input from others to seek a guide for culturally appropriate behavior. This is also a way for them to find meaning, goals, and a sense of identity. (1)

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We like connecting with our friends. We like interaction. We are part of a cosmos full of interactions, full of change. The cosmos is influencing us and we are also influencing the cosmos back.

We have chosen to be passive and be… active. To accept the way the world seems to work and follow the river as it flows by. But the most active path is to be… passive. To do nothing in a cosmos which seems to constantly move. To move and make the cosmos halt to a stop.

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We do not acquire our identity from the cosmos. We are the identity of the cosmos. Look at your cell phone. It contains the world. But you can never interact with it. Unless you leave it down and start breathing.

Walking in a bright forest.

There is no river flowing.

Look at your feet. They are still dry.

You are just sitting alone. With all your friends…

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