“They may look up information that they actuallyt know or could easily learn, but are unwilling to make the effort to actually think about it,” according to a co-author of the study, Gordon Pennycook.
Basically, this study vindicates previous research that says humans are eager to avoid exerting too much effort when it comes to problem-solving. Intuitive thinkers, those that rely on “gut feelings” in their decision making tend to lean on their smartphone’s search engine more often than those who think analytically or strategically.
Examining three separate studies that involved 660 participants, the researchers at Waterloo looked at varying cognitive measurements, intuitive and analytical thought processes, as well as verbal and quantitative expression skills. After compiling that data, the researchers looked at each participant’s smartphone usage habits.
Long story short, those with stronger cognitive abilities and a penchant for analytical thought were less likely to use their smartphones’ search-engine to assist with the problem solving process.
Mr. Pennycook, a Ph.D candidate, takes the observation to the next level, “Our research provides support for an association between heavy smartphone use and lowered intelligence. Whether smartphones actually decrease intelligence is still an open question that requires future research.”
Given how much developed society relies on this technology today, and how likely it is that relationship is only going to grow in the future, Nathaniel Barr, the other co-author of the Waterloo report points out the need to understand that relationship better, “It's important to understand how smartphones affect and relate to human psychology before these technologies are so fully ingrained that it's hard to recall what life was like without them. We may already be at that point.”
For those wondering if their social status is eating away at their grey matter, the good news is that the research does not seem to indicate that use of social media applications, or entertainment applications correlates to increased or degraded cognitive abilities.
source: Science Daily