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A shock study of iPhone users has found that they spend 46.9 per cent of their time thinking about something other than what they're doing - and this febrile absentmindedness makes them deeply unhappy. "A wandering mind is an unhappy mind," say trick-cyclists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert of Harvard uni. "The ability …

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Human Nature

Everybody fondles their slab at one time or another. The trick is to enjoy what you're doing as opposed to thinking about what you're doing. That's multitasking and I thought that was what the computer age was all about ... getting more output with the same or less input. Then there's synergism which is getting more out than you put in. As an old fart I can tell you those realities morph with age. Pretty soon we all get to the point that any fondling is a pleasure and to hell with what other people think or do. And that's called retirement or sometimes true independence.

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Coat

I disagree....

with the results of any study that suggests that I’m sad and mentally unfoc......

SQUIRRELL!!!

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What?

Eh? The BBC write up of this story doesn't mention the word 'iPhone' anywhere.

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FAIL

...er, yes it does

"according to a US study conducted via the iPhone"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11741350

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WTF?

Re; What?

> The BBC write up of this story doesn't mention the word 'iPhone' anywhere.

So complain on the BBC forum.

Or are you assuming their write up is better than at El Reg? That would be a first!

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Grenade

Fuckwits

"These traditions suggest that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind"

Yes, let us take folklore knowledge and hold them as truth:

"Ignorance is bliss"

Therefore, Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert must be REALLY happy!

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Bronze badge

Folklore

"An idle mind is the devil's workshop."

Yes, I dreamt that up. It's the product of my idling mind producing new traditions.

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WTF?

Utterly biased and fundamentally flawed research.

@"A wandering mind is an unhappy mind" ... No it isn't. Their wandering mind is very evidently unhappy, but that says way more about them, (and their usually hidden troubling thoughts) than it does about a wandering mind.

A wandering mind can be good or bad, it simply depends upon what that person is dwelling on. Therefore the people who are distracted by their troubling thoughts (and so decree “a wandering mind is an unhappy mind”) and so then go on to mandate that others have to live only in the moment, are giving out a massive warning sign of their real core behaviour. That they can't let their mind wander, because they fear and are painfully distracted by what it wanders into. That is why these people are effectively saying, *their* wandering mind is an unhappy mind.

Personally I love having a wandering mind. I also enjoy being around people who have a fascinating imagination and I avoid the boring ones who don't have much imagination or worse still, some who refuse (for whatever real reason) to have much imagination and some even put others down for having an imagination. (Which just forces me to ask the question why the negative anti-imagination people are so insecure about others expressing their imagination and being free to explore their imagination. It leads inevitably to the question, what is so bad in the negative people's wandering mind? … which is a good warning sign of why they treat others badly).

These so called “researchers” have let their own perception of the world fundamentally bias their interpretation of any results they think they have.

Here's a fitting quote to end on: "Imagination is intelligence having fun." - Albert Einstein.

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exactly

A mind that wanders to internal thoughts, daydreams, or worries can be a problem, leads to depression, and sometimes stress. A mind that seeks and finds interactive distraction is looking for (and receiving) release. Sometimes this is the result of a mind that wandered to worry, and that triggered you pulling out an iPhone and checking in on something, which ends the worry, and it is not dwelled on all day long, making you both less stressed and possessing one less mental distraction.

Periodic distractions that involve interaction, release, entertainment, communication, etc are healthy (maybe not to your productivity), but the same frequency of distraction into the subconscious is very much not healthy, unless we're talking about daydreaming of positive things. Wishing you were away is bad, getting away is good.

iPhones let people get away more often, which frees up other negative mental distractions. That can be a positive not only for personal happiness and stress reduction, but so long as it is controlled, it can actually INCREASE productivity at work as well.

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Jobs Horns

wandering minds why?

A mind wanders because something else is more interesting to it than the task at hand. It is a subconscious reaction, not a foreground choice. By wandering, the mind is finding some measure of happiness where none was. Given a pool of people with the same job, if those with an iPhone wander more often, who's to say the others would not have if they had a place for the mind to wander that was interesting.

Either they're wandering more often because the job bores them more (psychological differences drawing lines in the user base, aka, saying an iPhone owner is somehow different on some level from a non-iPhone owner in the same situation), or much more likely, the device OFFERS places to wander TO (or get to more simply or readily) that other devices do not do equally, and thus wandering is more easily achieved.

Now, if the study actually compared overall lifestyles of users vs non-users and found that iPhone owners suffered more common bouts of depression, or other disorders we might have some interesting information. However, them wandering more often does NOT logically equal that they are more depressed ad thus more frequently seek distraction unless you can quantitatively measure the ease of achieving distraction, and the benefits differences of what distraction might have been obtained when wandering.

Either the study's results are wrong, or more likely the analyst coming up with this statement was wrong. I content the opposite hypothesis: iPhones are superior at providing distraction and can make sad or bored people HAPPIER by having one.

Put me in an office with no windows and no distractions and I'll focus on my work more and wander less, but i'll also be far less productive and far more lethargic, and far less happy. I know for a fact I actually get more work done when my mind is allowed to spend 10-15 minutes of every hour doing something other than my assigned task at hand.

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The Leary Response

If I owned such a phone, however fondle-worthy, and it asked me at random intervals if I'm happy, I'd tell it to Shut The Fuck Up. Is this a defect in my psyche or the researchers' methodology...

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Troll

Hey....

... thats such a cool story bro!

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WTF?

What a load of old cack!

Here's mine...

People who like Mars over Twix are short!

People who like Indian curry over Chinese stir-fry, are usally bald!

People who like rucksacks over "man-bags", are more prone to jumping at red-lights!

People who prefer beer over cider are weird!

People who drive BMW are more likely be complete cretins!

Well they make more sense than the utter tosh in this survey! ( Well one of them is my personal opinion! )

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BMW

I guess you were referring to the wankers who steer BMW vehicles?

Having a daughter who has worked in most motor vehicle franchises I am quite au fait with the demographic of various marques. What finally made her decide to go back into higher education was the invasion of her Audi "family ethos" by the BMW twats

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Alert

iPhans+wandering mind = sad; sad+Lemon 4 = happy?

Could this research lead to the answer as to why millions of supposedly sane people go out and buy products that even Jobs admits are less than perfect, which to others are simply defective?

Very thought provoking research.

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Unhappy

I wonder

A bit confusing, but would a Iphone, perhaps, cure me from this awful habit of thinking of somebody else when having sex with somebody else.

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Alert

morons

Anyone in a break in conversation in a pub or café or in a in interval in a theatre or cinema for instance who immediately starts playing with the I phone or android based phone or any smart phone

for that matter is a total cock period , it's got nothing to do with apple , I know two people who had I phones who now have android phone s for instance and they are no different , they are both still wankers.

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Statistical nonsense

Did you not mean:

"46.9% of iPhone users who were interested enough in measuring their (un)happiness to volunteer to download a dubious application and volunteer as guinea pigs"?

Normal people who are iPhone users would not have been interested in participating. This sample population is not representative of iPhone users in general.

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Jobs Horns

So that explains it...

I hate Apple, I hate Macs, I especially hate their fanbois, I'm fundamentally opposed to the closed nature of the iphone and the Jobs brand of tyranny, but I have to admit I do like my iPhone (my preferred telco didn't have any decent android handsets so what was I to do?!?!)

Now I've read this articlemy eyes have been opened... if I could only learn to focus more I could get rid of my iphone and be soo much happier!!!

Evil Jobs because I really honestly don't like the bloke

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Anonymous Coward

Wandering mind

IIRC the guy who invented the Cray supercomputer stuff would occasionally hit a problem that was particularly problematic. He generally found a solution by going off and doing something mundane like digging a ditch or painting a barn. The answer would just come to him once he stopped looking for it.

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Grenade

unscientific

feh! this survey sounds more like a mix of pseudoscience and hack journalism sensationalism with a warmed over dose of metaphysics claptrap than anything I'd like to call research.

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Linux

sorry,

where were we?

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LOL like they live in the here and now....

"Many philosophical and religious traditions teach that happiness is to be found by living in the moment, and practitioners are trained to resist mind wandering and to 'be here now,'" Killingsworth and Gilbert contend. "These traditions suggest that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind." (and a deluded life is not a real life)

what a load of cr*p.

religion is an alternate universe

Philosophers never live it.

yikes.. what impulsive hedonistic self-serving @%#$%

maybe its just the iphone, so simple its boring

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Big Brother

It's a Mystery

If this is the standard of research ... I fear for the standards of Harvard.

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FAIL

How about this?

If we get people to fill in a piece of paper with a pen rating how happy they are, can we say that pen users are generally mentally unfocused and unhappy?

I see no mention of a control group here, so what exactly are they comparing the results against?

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