Your smart­phone makes you stupid, study shows

Tehran Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Texas find the “mere pres­ence” of a phone re­duces our abil­ity to think and con­cen­trate even when it’s off.

Looks like the word “smart­phone” may be a mis­nomer. Sure the phone may be smart, but just hav­ing it around makes us dum­ber, ac­cord­ing to a study of nearly 800 phone users con­ducted by the Univer­sity of Texas at Austin.

Re­searchers at the univer­sity’s McCombs School of Busi­ness asked par­tic­i­pants to takes a se­ries of com­puter-based tests that needed their full con­cen­tra­tion. Be­fore they be­gan the tests, geared to mea­sure “the brain’s abil­ity to hold and process data at any given time,” peo­ple in the study were ran­domly asked to ei­ther place their phone face­down on the desk, in their pocket or in an­other room. All were told to mute the sound.

The study found that peo­ple with their phones in an­other room “sig­nif­i­cantly out­per­formed” those who had their phones on the desk, and did slightly bet­ter than those who had their phones in a pocket.

“Your con­scious mind isn’t think­ing about your smart­phone, but that process -- the process of re­quir­ing your­self to not think about some­thing -- uses up some of your lim­ited cog­ni­tive re­sources,” said McCombs As­sis­tant Professor Adrian Ward, who headed the ex­per­i­ment. “It’s a brain drain.”

Re­searchers found just hav­ing a phone within view or easy reach re­duces a per­son’s abil­ity to fo­cus and per­form tasks, be­cause our brain’s are ac­tively work­ing to not pick up the phone. “The mere pres­ence of their smart­phones was enough to re­duce their cog­ni­tive ca­pac­ity,” Ward said.

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