Saturday, October 8, 2011

You Love Your iPhone, Literally

This is the title of a recent article in the NYT. It is written by Martin Lindstrom, a neuroscientist who dabbles in marketing research. He carried out some fun experiments using sophisticated brain scanning equipment, with astounding results. When he exposed his subjects “to audio and to video of a ringing and vibrating iPhone,” he observed a “flurry of activation in the insular cortex of the brain, which is associated with feelings of love and compassion.
The subjects’ brains responded to the sound of their phones as they would respond to the presence or proximity of a girlfriend, boyfriend or family member.” What a gadget! It seems that obscure object of desire is, after all, the ultimate gift of Steve Jobs to humanity. The neuroscientist is worried that the devious device produced by the genius of Apple’s founder can in fact become a romantic rival to our breathing, human partners. But it’s high time we left such dated anthropocentrism behind. As Morpheus noted long ago, the brain doesn’t know the difference. It can find satisfaction in either relationship, and this is what truly matters. Plus, the satisfaction derived from the iPhone is likely to be much more lasting and reliable. And it will receive periodic reboots with each new generation of that adorable gadget.