‘Zombie notifications’ and the science of social media

In years gone by, communities might have gathered at church or in the pub to share gossip, form friendships and update each other on their lives. Today, these two great institutions are in decline and instead we have the smartphone. 

The little devices in our pockets repeatedly grab our attention, prodding us with alerts and bleeps all day and often all night too. In the decade or so since the creation of the smartphone, we have come to accept this as part of life, sometimes handing over whatever information we are asked for just to keep them quiet. The dopamine hit we get from tapping at our smartphone screens is addictive. But what makes these alerts so irresistible? And what happens when we…


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