Your iPhone is ruining your posture -- and your mood

How else might iHunching influence our feelings and behaviors? My colleague Maarten W. Bos and I have done preliminary research on this. We randomly assigned participants to interact for five minutes with one of four electronic devices that varied in size: a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop and a desktop computer. We then looked at how long subjects would wait to ask the experimenter whether they could leave, after the study had clearly concluded. We found that the size of the device significantly affected whether subjects felt comfortable seeking out the experimenter, suggesting that the slouchy, collapsed position we take when using our phones actually makes us less assertive — less likely to stand up for ourselves when the situation calls for it.

In fact, there appears to be a linear relationship between the size of your device and the extent to which it affects you: the smaller the device, the more you must contract your body to use it, and the more shrunken and inward your posture, the more submissive you are likely to become.

Ironically, while many of us spend hours every day using small mobile devices to increase our productivity and efficiency, interacting with these objects, even for short periods of time, might do just the opposite, reducing our assertiveness and undermining our productivity.