Study: broken phones HK's biggest fear

HAVING their smartphone broken proved to be highly stressful to local people. It is even more stressful than public speaking, according to a University of Hong Kong study.

Fifty-two people who had smartphones were chosen for the experiment. Each individual was asked to perform four tasks: listen to a speech in a noisy environment before being tested on its contents, detect six differences between two photos in a minute when there were only actually five, comment on a one-minute video in front of strangers, and see their ‘phone’ dropped after being asked to hand it over.

The phones dropped were dummies of the same model owned by the test subjects, with cracked screens.

Each subject was attached to a biological feedback system that measured body functions during each of the four tasks.

The study found stress hormones increased an average of 32 percent beyond the normal rate when the participants were shown their broken ‘phone’.

The heart rate increased by 15 percent, while respiration increased by over 15 percent.

Lead researcher, assistant professor of psychology Tseng Chia-huei (香港大學心理學系榮譽助理教授曾加蕙), said, “Of all the tests, dropping your smartphone emerged as most stressful and produced the most drastic physiological changes of all the measures.” The results were surprising to the team, as they thought that public speaking would be more stressful than seeing one’s phone dropped. Public speaking is used in many psychological studies to evoke anxiety, she said.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 26 April 2016)

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