A new study has found that the same psychological effect that triggers yawning when we see others yawn, can be applied to checking our phones.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Ethnology, observed groups of people going about their daily lives. They identified ‘triggers’ (people who would check their phones) and studied how this affected the likelihood that others would check their phones within 30 seconds of seeing the trigger.
The study saw that people were 50% more likely to check their phones when someone else did, as opposed to being only 5% likely to check their phone by themselves, with no ‘trigger’.
The researchers called this a ‘spontaneous mimicry response’, and it’s similar to the response observed when someone yawns after seeing another person yawn first.