Using your smartphone may decrease brain power, study finds

Having your smartphone around you, even if it’s turned off, may reduce brain capacity, according to a new study. Researchers from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin initiated two experiments with an effort of measuring the cognitive abilities of nearly 500 smartphone users.

The first test began with participants being seated in a room with a PC and given an exam to perform. When participants sat down, they were instructed to silence their smartphones and place them face down, in their bags, or outside the testing room.

Upon analysis, researchers immediately noted that participants who placed their smartphones in another room did significantly better in their computer exam.

Moreover, participants who kept their smartphones in their bags outperformed those who kept them facedown; however, nowhere near the significance as the participants that placed them outside the testing room. Shifting to the second experiment: Researchers wanted to determine how ‘smartphone dependence’ affected cognitive abilities.

Participants in the second experiment were instructed to perform the same exam under similar circumstances. However, this time around, some of the participants were told to turn their phones off.

What was the end result? Researchers became aware of the fact that participants most dependent on their smartphones did worse on the exam when compared to their counterparts; only to those that didn’t take their smartphones out of the room, however.

As a whole, the findings add further sense to what many already theorize: Smartphones may reduce brain capacity, whether it’s off or not. The study, although nugatory compared to other experiments, brings further confidence into the notion that smartphones are really just making people less intelligent.

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