Separation anxiety from mobile devices makes us dumber, study

When you can’t find your iPhone, do you feel as though you can’t think straight? It’s not your imagination.

It is a common feeling for people who are regular users of mobile devices to feel as though they aren’t able to think as clearly or to remember as much when they are separated from those gadgets, and a recent study has shown that this isn’t just a feeling…

People who are suddenly separated from their iPhones don’t perform as well on cognitive tests.

The results of a new study that was conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri determined that subjects who were the owners of iPhones and who were separated from those mobile devices ended up performing measurably more poorly on cognitive tests. This study did not go to the extent as to say that using smartphones was making people smarter. Instead, what it suggested was that people who typically had cell phones and used them on a regular basis experienced notably anxiety when those gadgets were taken away, to the point that they were not able to concentrate as well as they typically would.

Subjects were informed that they would be testing out new types of mobile devices for measuring blood pressure.

Mobile devices iphoneOnce they were hooked up to the monitors, they were required to complete a simple word search style puzzle. Once that first puzzle was completed, they were asked to finish another one. The difference during the second test was that they were required to relinquish their iPhones in order to do it, as they were told that the smartphones were causing “Bluetooth interference” with the blood pressure gadgets that they were led to believe that they were testing.

During that second test, their blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels all rose. What was highly notable about this reaction was that their cognitive function slipped, as well, and they were not able to do as well on the simple word search puzzle.

The conclusion that researchers drew from this mobile devices study was that if a large exam or business meeting is coming up, don’t leave the smartphone at home, as doing so could be harmful to performance.

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