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(STUDY FINDS) -- If you’re looking for purpose or fulfillment on your smartphone, chances are, you’re going to keep searching and searching and searching. A search for meaning on your smartphone or social media can “inadvertently exacerbate feelings of despair while simultaneously promising to resolve” people’s questions, a new study finds.
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Sociology researchers from Baylor University and Campbell University say smartphones provide access to limitless information, which can lead people to mistakenly believe they are actively searching for a higher, ultimate meaning. In reality, however, their endless search is an endgame itself and users are simply feeding into a fruitless technology addiction.
The researchers say the complex relationship between meaning-seeking and limitless data-finding at people’s fingertips has ties to feelings of unhappiness, depression, suicidal ideation, and loneliness. A Baylor survey about information and communication technology (ICT) devices reveals that people who seek solace or attachment through their phones might in fact find the opposite. Study authors compared those answers with a “Meaning in Life Questionnaire” about respondents’ feelings of satisfaction or meaning derived from their devices.