Smartphone Pathology, Agency and Reward Processing

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Smartphones have become ubiquitous in society; for instance, 81% of Americans report they own at least one device. Along with an increase in smartphone use, there is growing concern surrounding the pathological use of these devices. Pathological smartphone use is associated with elevated anxiety, sleep disturbance, and increased impulsivity. Given these concerns, the current study examined the relationship between pathological smartphone use and the neural correlates of reward processing in a college-aged sample. The amplitude of neural activity elicited by gains and losses was negatively correlated with pathological smartphone use when individuals were the choice agent, but not when a computer was the choice agent. These data reveal that overlapping neural systems may contribute to pathological technology use and other forms of addictive behavior and substance abuse.