22/11/2022

Psychology - Is your phone turning you into a compulsive buyer?

With Black Friday looming on the horizon and the continued adoption of smartphones at earlier ages giving advertisers more opportunity than ever to promote both their bargains, and not-so-bargains. Let’s take a look at the psychology behind potential links between mobile phone use and some distinctly unhealthy purchasing patterns! 

The Black Mirror 

Mobile devices and smartphones have changed various aspects of our lives, including entertainment, work, social interactions, and education, with experts expecting mobile commerce sales to grow up to $700 billion by 2025. Many studies have identified the effect these devices are having on us, from sleep deprivation to adolescent anxiety, but now researchers have identified what they think is a link between smartphone use and compulsive shopping habits that might make you think twice about how much your phone is really costing your wallet! 

Smartphone addiction is defined as the excessive use of smartphones characterised by uncontrolled usage, neglect of daily activities, and negative consequences for the user's life. It affects a person's social, physical, and psychological functioning. 

Phone addictions

Non-stop shopping 

Compulsive buying has been explored in recent years in relation to the online environment and is characterized by a loss of spending control and a feeling of gratification following purchase, and smartphones may act as an enabler for online compulsive buying behaviours due to their intriguing, stimulating and customised digital environments.
 
Altogether, this may facilitate the emergence and consequent satisfaction of those urges to purchase felt by compulsive buyers. 

How mobile phone use affects your “flow state” 

You might have already heard the term "flow state" before, but what exactly is it? Flow state is often described as being "in the zone" or "in the flow." It's a state of peak performance where you're completely focused, and in the moment. Time seems to slow down and you're able to do things that you normally wouldn't be able to do.  

The authors of the study found that in general, smartphones undermine individuals' ability to achieve a flow state, through behaviours like phone checking – may interrupt the state of total concentration needed to experience flow. 

However, while engaging in pleasant or enjoyable activities, smartphone users are likely to achieve a state of flow. And shopping, particularly online where anything can be found almost instantly, falls into this category for most! 

popularity of smartphones

Taking a time out 

If you’re struggling with compulsive shopping behaviours, then the smartphone in your pocket might be part of the problem. Consider how much screen time you really need, and how much you actually spend looking at your phone. A break might be just the thing you need to establish some healthier smartphone habits! 

One thing that’s proven to improve your health is education. If learning about the human mind and its inner workings is something that appeals to you, then you might be the perfect candidate for our psychology degree courses at the University of Bolton.  
 

No courses found

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
Full-time
Mode of study
3 years
Duration
112
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Criminological and Forensic Psychology
Full-time
Mode of study
3 years
Duration
112
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Mental Health, Wellbeing and Counselling
Full-time
Mode of study
3 years
Duration
112
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Psychology
Full-time
Mode of study
3 years
Duration
112
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Psychology, Psychotherapy and Counselling
Full-time
Mode of study
3 years
Duration
112
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Criminological and Forensic Psychology with foundation year
Full-time
Mode of study
4 years
Duration
48
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Mental Health, Wellbeing and Counselling with Foundation Year
Full-time
Mode of study
4 years
Duration
48
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience with foundation year
Full-time
Mode of study
4 years
Duration
48
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Psychology with foundation year
Full-time
Mode of study
4 years
Duration
48
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Psychology, Psychotherapy and Counselling with foundation year
Full-time
Mode of study
4 years
Duration
48
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

MA MA /MSc Professional Practice (Specialism)
Full-time
Mode of study
12 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MA MA /MSc Professional Practice (Specialism): Extended
Full-time
Mode of study
18 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MSc MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology
Full-time
Mode of study
18 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MSc MSc Counselling and Positive Psychology
Full-time
Mode of study
18 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MSc MSc Positive Psychology
Full-time
Mode of study
18 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MSc MSc Psychology
Full-time
Mode of study
18 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MSc MSc Psychology (Conversion)
Full-time
Mode of study
12 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MSc MSc Psychology (Conversion): January Start
Full-time
Mode of study
18 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MSc MSc Social Neuroscience
Full-time
Mode of study
18 months
Duration

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
Part-time
Mode of study
54 months
Duration
112
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Criminological and Forensic Psychology
Part-time
Mode of study
4.5 years
Duration
112
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Mental Health, Wellbeing and Counselling
Part-time
Mode of study
54 months
Duration
112
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Psychology
Part-time
Mode of study
4.5 years
Duration
112
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Psychology, Psychotherapy and Counselling
Part-time
Mode of study
4.5 years
Duration
112
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience with foundation year
Part-time
Mode of study
6 years
Duration
48
UCAS Points

University of Bolton

MA MA /MSc Professional Practice (Specialism)
Part-time
Mode of study
24 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MSc MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology
Part-time
Mode of study
30 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MSc MSc Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies
Part-time
Mode of study
36 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MSc MSc Positive Psychology
Part-time
Mode of study
30 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MSc MSc Psychology
Part-time
Mode of study
30 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MSc MSc Psychology (Conversion)
Part-time
Mode of study
24 months
Duration

University of Bolton

MSc MSc Social Neuroscience
Part-time
Mode of study
30 months
Duration

University of Bolton

PgDip PgDip Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies
Part-time
Mode of study
24 months
Duration

University of Bolton

Related articles

myBolton

Download the app for your smartphone from:

Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

Bolton college
Alliance learning
Anderton centre2
RiSE pos rgb logo
QQA Scheme Participant

Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

Bolton college
Alliance learning
Anderton centre2
RiSE pos rgb logo
QQA Scheme Participant