Shocking study: What our smartphone batteries tell us about us

The designer Karl Lagerfeld has always been in favor of a good saying. Some of them went straight into the story. His most well-known spoke the jogging pants far away from the gym from any raison d’être. “Who wears a pair of sweatpants, has lost control of his life,” said the fashion icon in 2012 on the ZDF talk show “Markus Lanz”.

What the Lagerfeld, who died in February, did not suspect at the time: his sweatpants theorem can now also be applied to smartphones. Or rather, empty smartphone batteries. At least, this was the result of the Cass Business School study conducted on London commuters.

Batteries under 50 percent evoke feelings of deep anxiety

“People no longer remember that their destination is ten kilometers or ten subway stations far away,” says Dr. Thomas Robinson, a lecturer in marketing and lead author of the study. “They estimate the distance, for example, at 50 percent Battery. “Accordingly, the battery of the smartphone not only takes the time and distance assessment, but is even a kind of” Feel-Good “gauging device or just the opposite A full battery status indicator gave the respondents” a positive feeling ” says Robinson, which gives them the impression that they can and do everything possible, but batteries that were less than half full were producing “feelings of deep anxiety and discomfort.”

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One respondent in the study, who was interviewed for 60-90 minutes, told the story that one day he had to wait for a delayed train: “I saw that the battery was only 57 percent and emptying When I finally got on the train, I only had 15 to 20 percent left and thought, ‘Shit!’ Every time one percent less was displayed, I really took note. “

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“When it goes from 100 to 0 percent, you’re naked and freezing”

Is it already so far that the cell phone batteries determine our emotional states? Occasionally this really seems to be the case. A 25-year-old described it in her interview: “A full battery means’ good to start the day ‘at 50 percent I think’ Oh God, I better stop the updates in the background, activate the economy mode and Disable Instagram and the emails, because otherwise it will probably soon give up the ghost. ‘At 30 percent I would not have fun anymore and all that would just be’ AHHHHH ‘. “

A 35-year-old manager goes even further: “If you’re standing in the shower on a cold day and somebody turns off the tap, that’s how it feels, you think, ‘Turn it up, turn it up’ because you’re cold That’s what happens when you go from 100 to 0 percent – you’re naked and freezing, you’re experiencing a lot of emotions. ”

The battery management structures the daily activities of many people

Respondents’ answers lead the authors of the study to the realization that battery management structures people’s daily activities – from disputes about who can charge their device next to the bed to deciding where to go shopping, to gain access to additional charging stations.

“I said, ‘Where are we going now, do you know what, let’s go to Westfield.’ And she asked, ‘Why?’ Because I can charge my smartphone at the Westfield Shopping Center, the fact that my battery could go dead drove me crazy, “said a 33-year-old who took a long detour with her friend on a shopping trip to charge the smartphone battery.

Those who are prepared to do almost any detour and whimsical act to keep the battery level as high as possible call themselves “control freaks” according to the study or claim to be “burdened by some obsessive-compulsive disorder”.

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Empty battery? That stands for disordered and ruthless people

But the study brings quite different aspects to light. She concludes that people identify themselves and others with respect to maintaining their battery state of charge. For example, respondents classified those people who leave their mobile phone batteries empty regularly as “disorderly” and “ruthless.” According to Robinson, these people are “considered to be outside the social norm of being connected”.

They are not able to be “competent members of society” for others. His conclusion: “Phones have become such an all-encompassing hub that an inability to effectively manage battery life stands for the inability to manage life.”

What was once Karl Lagerfeld’s sweatpants is today the empty smartphone battery. It can only be hoped that the desire to not be constantly (only) connected to the digital world – and to focus on the analogue every now and then, soon experienced a revival as surprising as the good old sweat pants.

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