Being near your smartphone makes you stupider, study finds
We all knew that we’ve been slowlynurturing an addictionto our smartphones, but researchers at the University of Texas at Austinhave further concluded that simply being in close proximity to our phones ishaving adverse effects on our cognitive abilities. Using a sample size ofnearly 800 phone users, the study examined "the brain's ability to holdand process data at any given time."
Subjects were selected at random to either place their phoneface down in front of them, inside their pocket, or in another room – all ofwhich were instructed to put their devices on silent. Researchers then administereda series of computer-based tests which measured attentiveness, memory, and problem-solvingskills.
According to the study, “comparisons revealed thatparticipants in the ‘other room’ condition found it significantly easier toremember information in [these tasks] relative to participants in the ‘desk’condition and marginally easier relative to those in the ‘pocket/bag’ condition.”The data also points out that, though the difference in ability is apparent,the perceived difficulty of these tasks remained the same for all groups – in otherwords, participants in the “desk condition” were unaware of the detriment the phone’spresence had evidently caused them.
In essence, the addiction to our phones has become soembedded that, even unconsciously, our brains must fight to avoid thinkingabout them or checking them for notifications.
Thankfully, the study reports that we’re not necessarily all hopelessly addicted or cognitivelycompromised. Subjects were also asked a series of exploratory questions “intendedto assess individual differences in use of and connection to one’s smartphone.”The findings show that the observed decline in cognitive ability was directly relatedto an individual’s pre-existing, (relatively) higher observed level of emotionalattachment and dependence on the device. How the scale between attachment and indifferenceis measured proves tougher to specify than this pre-experiment survey endeavoredto establish, however one thing seems to ring true: out of sight, out of mind.
Check the source link below for the full study from theUniversity of Texas at Austin.