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Nick Espada
Essentials of Psychology
February 12, 2024
Smartphone Use is Contagious
The media report was featured on Fox 5 News. It investigates the infectious mechanism of
phone-checking behavior. Carrying out the study at different locations, including waiting rooms,
parks, and restaurants, the researchers aimed to explore whether smartphone use depends on
watching. It was found that almost half of people who saw someone looking at a phone were
urged to do the same thing, and the behavior was consequently measured by calculating the
number of persons who checked their phones every thirty seconds after seeing that another
person did it. Influences such as time, specific situations, and the familiarity of the people with
one another shaped the results, showing how phone use depends on screen captivation (Media
Wire, 2021). One of the characteristics that the article keeps in a narrative form is that it does a
narration and shows the personal side of the story, which focuses on both the positive and
negative implications of phone usage. It examines the link between smartphone use and social
bonds; it presents the chameleon effect in establishing a psychological environment. The
importance of shared dining in decreasing the desire to use mobile devices is also underlined.
The report ends by highlighting the significance of analyzing mimicry in the proliferation of
smartphones, which broadens the debate about technology’s role in social behavior.
Navigating from Live to Virtual Social Interactions: Looking at but not Manipulating
Smartphones Provokes a Spontaneous Mimicry Response in the Observers
The study conducted by Maglieri et al. (2021) examined the natural imitation reaction
arising due to the utilization of smartphones in social situations. Studying 184 people in Italy
from different settings, the researchers placed a special focus on both known and unknown
subjects in their daily tasks. This was an experimental study. The experimental condition
required individuals to manipulate smartphones while watching the screen; on the contrary,
individuals only manipulated the device with no screen involved in the control condition. The
experiment indicated that imitation responses were seen only when the set-off gazed toward the
tool, thus supporting the goal-oriented interpretation (Maglieri et al., 2021). The vast majority of
the mimicry episodes happened in the first 30 seconds, which hints at the rapid and spontaneous
character. The results point to the fact that mimicry is the reason for the massive adoption of
smartphones, thus emphasizing their role in everyday social communication. Future studies will
additionally be required to assess the timing of mimicry and derive users’ responses to visual
media that show consumers viewing their devices. The study also raises the issue of the influence
of the COVID-19 lockdown on smartphone mimicry, and therefore, long-term studies are called
Maglieri, V., Riccobono, M. G., Giunchi, D., & Palagi, E. (2021). Navigating from live to
virtual social interactions: looking at but not manipulating smartphones provokes a
spontaneous mimicry response in the observers. Journal of Ethology, 39(3), 287–296.
Media Wire, N. S. (2021, May 3). Smartphone use is ‘contagious,’ study finds. FOX 5 San

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