Why is it tough to put down your mobile?

Ranjit Damodaran
2 min readMar 8, 2022


Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

Today's technology is very addictive. It is not that this addictiveness is unique to our time. It was there even before the mobile came into existence. They're cinemas, radio, games, and other social interactions. However, the advent of technology has elevated addictiveness to a different level, and it is more intrusive.

If we want to understand how hard it is to put down a mobile, we need to understand how our brain works. Our brain has evolved from the first principle of energy conservation. Our brain weighs 3 pounds, i.e., 2% of our body weight, but consumes 20% of our body energy use.

To a certain degree, our brain tries to avoid any tasks that are cognitive overload. Scientists from McGill University, Canada, experimented with people giving them a choice between doing a complex cognitive task or undergoing physical pain. Overwhelmingly people prefer pain over complex cognitive tasks. Our brain associates pain with cognitive tasks. The metaphor "it hurts to think" is indeed a fact.

Our brain is hardwired for laziness. All human begins to an extent tries to avoid some level of cognitive overload.

One of the strategies used by the brain to avoid complex cognitive tasks, is to procastinate or escapism and search for a pacifier that gives comfort. Our mind needs a prop, and mobiles fit into this role of an ultimate pacifier.

What does the mobile do to make us gravitate towards it? The social network on mobiles uses cues, rewards, and behavior to get addicted. Whenever we take up a strenuous activity that we hesitate, we gravitate to the mobile, where we are rewarded with passive mind-numbing entertainment.

By design social media company is an advertisement company whose primary purpose is to lure customers and engage their attention long enough to sell things.

Like a snake distracted by moving hands and deer dazzled by the light, we humans are captivated by the random visual feeds coming from our mobiles. Instead, the social media platform figured out a way to dazzle us with short snippets or videos.

Another aspect is the notification, and it is a powerful trigger. Notifications are designed to provoke people to engage with the phone immediately. These notification cues are well ingrained, and these constant sound or visual notification reinforces us to interact with the phone.



Ranjit Damodaran

Tech enthusiast, Project Management. Interested in Complexity science, Economics, Psychology, Philosophy, Human Nature, Behavioral Economics, almost anything.