Switching it off or placing it face down just wont help you escape your fate.
Minding your business has just become harder as this new research seems to suggest. Having you phone around or nearby when you are doing something or discussing can mess with your brain memory, as you will struggle to concentrate.
According to a new research by the scientists at the University of Texas at Austin, our smartphones now become the good source of distraction. Its mere presence will cut back our memory power, whether or not we are using it or not. Scientists suggest the study may lead to better understanding of the risks of being continually connected and available.
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The study suggests, having phones close means some of our memory power is inevitably expended as we attempt to not be distracted.
No doubts that our smartphone becomes more noticeable. When your phone is nearby, your conscious mind isn’t thinking about your smartphone, but that process of requiring yourself to not think about something uses up some of your limited cognitive resources. In other words, it is called as brain drain.
Scientists conducted two different experiments. In first, they involved 527 smartphone users and told them to turn their phones to silent. They even asked them to leave their phones in another room or put in pocket/bag.
Participants then asked to complete a series of computer tests that required serious concentration to score highly.
Scientists found participants who left their phones in another room performed very well. On the other side, participants with their phones on the desk, and “slightly outperformed” those with their phones in a pocket or a bag. This reminds me of the game show i watched sometimes age by college humor, “I want my phone back“. In that game show , the participants were to allow the presenter to do crazy things on their phones till the owners can’t stand it any longer and simply say “I want my phone back!” In the game the more embarrassing things done on the phone to more the owners made.
During the 2nd experiment, scientists involved 275 volunteers in performing the same task. But this time, they were asked in advance how much they felt they depended on their phones.
Participants who reported they were most dependent on their phones performed worse on the tests, but only when the phone was placed on a desk or in a pocket or a bag. But, if the phone was in another room, phone dependency had no significant impact on the test scores.
In short, scientists found that whether your phone is ON/OFF or placed face up or face down on a desk, didn’t make any difference to overall performance either. In other words, the only way to really make sure your phone isn’t distracting you is to physically remove it from the room you’re in.
What Experts Says
Adrian Ward, one of the researcher said, “You probably don’t need telling that having a smartphone around can be distracting. But it’s interesting that just having a phone close by, even if it’s turned off or in silent mode is enough to reduce our mental capacity for other tasks.”
“It’s not that participants were distracted because they were getting notifications on their phones. The mere presence of their smartphone was enough to reduce their cognitive capacity.”