What The Way You Use Your Phone Says About You, Because Our Habits Speak Volumes

Your phone pings with the tell-tale sound someone has texted you. Do you respond right away, or is your phone tucked away somewhere and you've got more of an "I'll get to it when I can" mentality? According to a new study, your response might reveal what your phone usage says about you. We'll delve into the finer points of this logic a bit further down, but suffice it say that your mobile technology habits could be linked to cognitive behavior — like impulse control — more than you think.

To arrive at this conclusion, researchers at Temple University polled 91 undergrads about how often they use their phones to check their social media feeds, interact with friends, and generally browse the Internet. Seemingly straightforward, right? But to determine how these preferences correlated to cognitive behavior, the researchers then added a few twists. First, they asked the students whether they'd prefer a small chunk of change right now — or a big ol' chunk of change later down the road. This helped gauge the undergrads' tolerance for delayed gratification. The second twist entailed asking the students to rate how strongly (or not) they identified with certain statements speaking to impulsive behavior, i.e. "I'll try anything once." And, finally, they set students up with a computer and asked them to press a button whenever an "x" popped up, but to resist the temptation to do so when a rogue "k" crossed the screen.

What they found spoke greatly to what phone usage actually says about your personality type and behavioral habits. Keep scrolling to figure out where you fall on the spectrum.

1. If You Check Your Phone Every Five Seconds...

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You're probably impulsive and impatient. This was the basically the big gist of the study done by the Temple University researchers. Undergrads who exhibited more impatience — pressing the button when they weren't supposed to, wanting an immediate cash payout, etc. — were also the ones who spent copious amounts of time tethered to their smartphones. If hearing this makes you want to rein in your habit, there's an app for that. Er, several actually. Download Moment or Checky, which both keep track of how much time per day you're spending on your phone. And, if it's any consolation, you have plenty of company if you fall into this category. Studies have shown 84 percent of cell phone owners confess they couldn't go a day without their device, and 44 percent admit they've slept with their phone nearby so as not to miss any notifications.

2. If You're Cool To Let Your Phone Chill...

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You're probably less stressed. In a study to be published in the April 2016 volume of Computers in Human Behavior, researchers investigated the relationship between compulsive smartphone usage and satisfaction of life mediated by stress and academic performance among students. What they found upon polling 300 university students was that stress mediates the relationship between smartphone addiction and satisfaction with life.

3. If You Spend More Than An Hour On Your Phone Per Day...

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You might be depressed, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. In the study, researchers at Northwestern University and Michigan State University found they could identify people with depression simply by tracking their phone usage — to the tune of an 87 percent accuracy rate. Their intel indicated that depressed subjects spent roughly 68 minutes per day on their phones, while their non-depressed peers spent only 17 minutes per day on their phones on average.

4. If You Constantly Fiddle With Your Phone, Often Without Purpose...

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You probably have trouble focusing and — bonus! — you might be moody, too. Scientists at Baylor University recently drew a link between compulsive cell phone usage and emotional instability, as well as reduced focus. The latter, which they refer to as "attention impulsiveness," apparently has a particularly significant link with cellphone over-usage or addiction.

5. If You Honestly Check Your Phone So Little You Sometimes Forget It's There...

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You're likely quieter and more introverted. "Those who express feelings of shyness and bashfulness may be less likely to become dependent on their cell phones than their more extroverted counterparts," said the Baylor University scientists. So if you're the type who tosses your phone in a purse only to forget about it for hours, you're (a) perhaps a little on the shy side and (b) far less likely to get hooked on technology.

Images: kaboompics.com; Giphy (5)

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