On Jan. 9, 2007, Steve Jobs
formally announced Apple’s “revolutionary mobile phone”—a device that combined the functionality of an iPod, phone and Internet communication into a single unit, navigated by touch.
It was a huge milestone in the development of smartphones, which are now owned by a majority of American adults and are increasingly common across the globe.
As smartphones have multiplied, so have questions about their impact on how we live and how we work. Often the advantages of convenient, mobile technology are both obvious and taken for granted, leaving more subtle topics for concerned discussion:Are smartphones disturbing children’s sleep? Is an inability to get away from work having a negative impact on health? And what are the implications for privacy?
But today, on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, let’s take a moment to consider a less obvious advantage: the potential for smartphone technology to revolutionize behavioral science. That’s because, for the first time in human history, a large proportion of the species is in continuous contact with technology that can record key features of an individual’s behavior and environment.
Researchers have already begun to use smartphones in social scientific research, either to query people regularly as they engage in their normal lives or to record activity using the device’s built-in sensors. These studies are confirming, challenging and extending what’s been found using more traditional approaches, in which people report how they behaved in real life or participate in relatively short and artificial laboratory-based tasks.
engage in 参与、从事
as they engage in their normal lives 当他们从事正常生活时
either … or … 表示或者或者
neither … nor …表示既不也不
Such studies are just first steps. As more data are collected and methods for analysis improve, researchers will be in a better position to identify how different experiences, behaviors and environments relate to each other and evolve over time, with the potential to improve people’s productivity and wellbeing in a variety of domains. Beyond revealing population-wide patterns, the right combination of data and analysis can also help individuals identify unique characteristics of their own behavior, including conditions that could indicate the need for some form of intervention—such as an unusual increase in behaviors that signal a period of depression. Smartphone-based data collection comes at an appropriate time in the evolution of psychological science. Today, the field is in transition, moving away from a focus on laboratory studies with undergraduate participants towards more complex, real-world situations studied with more diverse groups of people. Smartphones offer new tools for achieving these ambitions, providing rich data about everyday behaviors in a variety of contexts.
unusual increase in behaviors 异常的增加of行为
the field is in transition 这个领域正在转型
in a variety of contexts 在各种情况下
how different experiences, behaviors and environments relate to each other and evolve over time 不同的经历、行为、环境如何随着时间的流逝互相影响