Monday, July 3, 2017

Smartphones distract us, even if they're off

Jun 28 2017 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Smartphones distract us, even if they're off

If Mobiles Are Kept Within Reach They Drain The Brain, Find Researchers
The mere presence of a smartphone reduces cognitive capacity, adver sely affecting the brain's ability to hold and process data at any given time, according to a new study . Having a smartphone within reach, even if it's switched off or placed facedown, causes “brain drain“, say researchers from McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, US.They also concluded that the more reliant people are on their smartphones, the more they seem to suffer from their presence. “Results from two experiments indicate that even when people are successful at maintaining sustained attention -as when avoiding the temptation to check their phones -the mere presence of these devices reduces available cognitive capacity ,“ reads the report.
In the first experiment, 520 people were told to put their smartphones in `silent' mode and place them either facedown on their desk, in their pocket or bag, or in another room. They were then asked to complete tests “intended to measure available cognitive capacity“, including the Automated Operation Span task (a working memory capacity test) and a 10-item subset of Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices (a non-verbal mea sure of fluid intelligence).
The researchers discovered that the participants who put their phones in another room “significantly outperformed“ those who had their phones on their desks, and “slightly outperformed“ those who stowed their phones away in a pocket or bag.
In the second experiment, 275 people were told to either put their smartphones in `silent' mode or switch them off completely , and place them either face-up on their desk, in their pocket or bag, or in another room. They also had to complete a selection of tasks, and were asked questions designed to assess how reliant they are on their smartphones.
The researchers found that the participants who said they were most dependant on their smartphones performed worse in the tests, but only if their handset was placed on their desk or in a pocket or bag. Whether a smartphone was on or off, or placed face-up or face-down on a desk, made no difference.
“The research identifies a potentially costly side effect of the integration of smartphones into daily life: smartphone-induced `brain drain',“ the researchers noted. They believe that “defined and protected“ periods of separation from smartphones -not unexpected periods of separation -“may allow consumers to perform better not just by reducing interruptions but also increasing available cognitive capacity“.

No comments:

Post a Comment