Do you instinctively reach for your smartphone whenever you're in an awkward chat with unfamiliar people, or just feel like you're the odd one out? There's likely a good reason for it. Researchers have published a study indicating that people treat their smartphones as "security blankets" to help them cope with uncomfortable social situations. In experiments, they found that people allowed to keep their smartphones had lower stress hormone levels when ignored in conversations, whether or not they were allowed to use the devices. Just the presence of the phone was enough to set them at ease, to put it another way.