Think you’re addicited to your smartphone? Turns out that cellphone addiction might be contagious.

In the study, researchers watched groups of students, documenting their cellphone use every 10 seconds. Overall, students were on their phones 24% of the time they spent with a friend, and were 39.5% more likely to use their phone when the person they were sitting with had done so in the previous 10-second interval.

Researcher Daniel Kruger said he believes the pattern may be attributed to social inclusion. If the person you’re sitting with is checking Twitter or texting other friends, then you're likely to do so as well in order to avoid feeling excluded.

That effect is intensified in younger adults who might habitually check their phones. When those who are already addicted to their phones use the devices while spending time with others, cellphone usage increases even more.

Researchers said the results could differ slightly in older adults who don’t use their phones as often.

Do you think cellphone use is contagious?

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December 04, 2012