Dialing Certain Numbers on Cell Phones Activates Mental Correlation

An interesting experiment was conducted to understand how when people perform actions, those actions activate mental effects, even if they’re not obvious. In other words, repeated actions form associations in people’s minds that allows them to anticipate certain outcomes. Dialing on cell phones is a good setting to comprehend connections between behavioral responses and motor activity. This is attributed to the combination of keys representing both numbers and letters of the alphabet, where a sequence of numerals could read as a meaningful word. The study deduced that phone numbers could trigger a meaning for a corresponding word and in turn cause reactions to the meaning of the word.

Performing actions with known implications often forms a pattern in the human mind such that every time the action is performed, the same outcome is expected. This is observed for singular as well as a multiple sequential actions. The current study analyzed if this effect could be translated to involuntary responses to get deeper meaning. Cell phones have available an interesting feature of letter-to-number association, unlike computer keyboards. Hence, these instruments were utilized to understand the psychological overlapping between dialing numbers and typing text messages. The human brain automatically maps correlated actions; and so, in an instance of recall, several effects of a single action may be expressed.

*  Sixty-eight female, 37 male German undergraduate students participated
* Cell phones employed in this study had only numerical displays. The control group responded on computer keypads.
* The first experiment dealt with alternate typing of number-strings and verifying if the string (implied word or nonsense term) was a real word.
* In the second experiment, pleasure evaluation of typing numbers was done, where numbers corresponded to strings that represented positive or negative emotions.
* The third experiment involved rating the interest level of a business call, wherein the phone number either matched or mismatched with the business term.

Results/key findings
* Experiment 1: Faster, correct responses were seen where the number implied the word given, auch as 72523, SALAD or 36723, FORCE). Also, frequency of the words in the text messages and the individual’s familiarity with messaging seemed to enhance response.
* Experiment 2: Dialing of numbers corresponding to positive words was preferred.
* Experiment 3: Calls where the phone numbers matched with the particular business were rated more interesting in both positive and negative realms.

Next steps/shortcomings
The mechanism of the exact association between actions and underlying effects needs further exploration. The integral role of cell phones in today’s world could have some impact on life and work culture. Such studies could help enhance workplace efficiency, if correctly applied. The possibility of business improvement by choosing appropriate phone numbers for better customer satisfaction should be examined.

Research up to now has associated only physical actions with implied meanings. This study goes deeper into this understanding to connect involuntarily derived meanings with unintentional regular actions. This is a breakthrough in analyzing awareness of cognition through motor activity. Finding in this study that physically operating an instrument could trigger an emotional response indicate the presence of certain codes for certain actions between the mind and body. This is clearly established as the participants did not know the coding patterns. Similar typing on computer keyboards did not elicit any response. Because of this, the study supports the learning mode of the brain called sensorimotor – motor activity caused by sensory stimuli. Apart from functioning as analytical codes, this concept of automatic motor-to-cognitive association could be utilized in planning business strategies.

For More Information:
I 5683 You: Dialing Phone Numbers on Cell Phones Activates Key-Concordant Concepts
Publication Journal: Psychological Science, January 2011
By Sascha Topolinski; University of Würzburg, Roentgenring, Würzburg, Germany

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