Perhaps this is a familiar scene: You’re standing in line at the coffee shop when suddenly you get the urge to check your phone. Perhaps it was a phantom vibration that prompted it, or a desire to see how many people liked your most recent Instagram post. Like an addict in need of a quick hit, the itch grows stronger and stronger the longer you delay.
For those who compulsively check their phones, it can often feel like an addiction, but science writer Sharon Begley offers another explanation. She says it’s rooted in a desire to alleviate anxiety.