Can you put down your smartphone?

A few weeks ago 60 Minutes aired a segment called Brain Hacking. The Victor crew was surprised by some of the information.

Tristan Harris, a former Google product manager, compares smartphones to slot machines. Every time you pick it up and check on it, you are looking to see “what you get.” The person being interviewed, said that techniques are used to cause people to keep checking their phones and apps.

In another part of the segment, we find Ramsay Brown, a programmer who understands how the brain works and writes code accordingly. Co-founder of Dopamine Labs, tries to write apps based on the pleasure and desire in our brains. They try to find ways to keep people using apps longer or more often. For instance, he says Instagram may hold back some of your “likes” and release them in a sudden burst. They even try to figure out when the best moment to release them is. You don’t pay for social media like Facebook – advertisers do. He says it’s “your eyeballs are what’s being sold there.”

Read more about the segment.

What does Facebook know about you?

In a new study conducted by Stanford University in California and the University of Cambridge through an app on Facebook called ‘myPersonality’, there were 86,220 volunteers who completed a 100-item personality questionnaire. They also gave the researchers access to their ‘likes’. The scores revealed five traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

The app also allowed the users to ask friends and family to answer a 10-item test about the test subject.

What this showed was that the computer could predict the user’s personality better than any co-worker based on 10 Facebook likes and even better than a close friend or roommate with 70 like; a parent or sibling with 150 likes; a spouse with 300 likes.

They found the average Facebook user has 277 liked pages.

Jody Victor