Smartphones a 'brain drain', make you dumber

WARNING Keep your smartphones where you can't see them!- This is why

WARNING Keep your smartphones where you can't see them!- This is why

Sure the phone may be smart, but just having it around makes us dumber, according to a study of almost 800 phone users conducted by the University of Texas at Austin.

An experiment was conducted, with 800 individuals and it was seen how effectively they can work when their smartphone is within their reach.

Before beginning, participants were randomly instructed to place their smartphones either on the desk face down, in their pocket or personal bag, or in another room.

Participants with their phones in another room significantly outperformed those with their phones on the desk, the press release said.

"We see a linear trend that suggests that as the smartphone becomes more noticeable, participants' available cognitive capacity decreases", Ward said.

Adrian Ward, one of the researchers of the study, said the conscious mind is not thinking about the smartphone, but the process of not thinking about something can use up limited cognitive resources.

"It's not that participants were distracted because they were getting notifications on their phones".

Finding in Journal of the Association for Consumer Research: Even the presence of your smartphone nearby minimizes your cognitive capacity to focus on the given task.

The researchers found that participants with their phones in another room significantly outperformed those with their phones on the desk, and they also slightly outperformed those participants who had kept their phones in a pocket or bag. The individuals did the same tests on the computer as the first round of participants, however this group was randomly instructed to keep their devices either on their desk face up, in their pocket or outside the room.

Having a smartphone in the same room as you restricts your brainpower, even if the device is switched off, new research has found. The first, which was referred to as the "desk condition" had cognitive capacity measured while the participant's smartphone was physically in sight. The only direct solution to mitigate this "brain drain" is through separation - something that many would consider unthinkable. The effect was more pronounced on participants who rated themselves as being highly dependent on their phones. A possible solution, the study's authors suggest, is separation.

A key difference here to that of prior studies is one of expectation. Rather than springing a forced separation from a smartphone on a person, if they know the separation is coming they can better focus on the task at hand. But can phones have a negative effect on us even when we're not using them?

So the next time you may need to take an online test at home, it's best to leave your smartphone in the kitchen - at least just for 30 minutes.

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