Smartphone Presence Reduces Our Brain Capacity, Study Finds

This is an interesting discovery for smartphone users, as a recent research reveals that our brain capacity declines substantially when our smartphone is near. The research also finds that such things happen even when the smartphone is turned off.

We have become too dependent on our gadgets, we can’t live one minute away from our smartphone. However, this can seriously affect our brain capacity, according to a recent research from the University of Texas at Austin. A research from the assistant professor at the McCombs School of Business, Adrian Ward has discovered that having a smartphone within our reach inhibits our cognitive ability to concentrate and conduct a simple task.

In his experiment, professor Ward examined around 800 smartphone users and asked them to complete a specific task. In one of the experiments, the participants must undertake a test that required full concentration. Prior to taking the test, some of the participants were asked to leave their smartphone in other room, while the others were allowed to bring theirs. The participants who brought the smartphone inside were instructed to either turn their smartphone off or into silent mode.

The test result shows that participants who left their smartphone in the other room outperformed those who brought their smartphone. This concluded that even the sheer presence of smartphone has significant effect to our cognitive capacity.

People with their smartphone.
Instead of talking to each other, people tend to focus on their smartphone [Image by filadendron/iStock]

Nowadays in the U.S., according to the latest research from Pew Research Center, 77 percent of the Americans used a smartphone as their way to access the internet. Moreover, in the 18-to 29-year age group, 92 percent of them are avid smartphone users. This shows that smartphone is nearly pervasive in the today’s American lifestyle.

The ubiquitous presence of smartphone needs to be reduced to allow our brain to function at full capacity. According to Professor Ward’s research, aside from significantly reducing our brain capacity, a simple presence of smartphone also impairs cognitive functioning. In their conscious mind, people may not think about the smartphone, but their subconscious mind keeps telling them to think about something else other than their smartphone. This subconscious process inhibits the full capacity of cognitive resources.

People, smartphon and social network
Peoplw with their smartphone.

“We see a linear trend that suggests that as the smartphone becomes more noticeable, participants’ available cognitive capacity decreases.”

Professor Ward discovers that the participants were not even distracted by notification on their smartphone. However, a significant difference in the test result showed that having a smartphone within reach has a significant effect on the brain capacity.

[Featured Image by Oatawa/ThinkStock]