Research has found that smartphones are reducing our thinking ability

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photo-51Kenyans who own smartphones are being advised to minimize the use of the cellular devices or rather train themselves to do their daily activities without them as researchers from the University of Texas at Austin have found that it reduces cognitive performance.

“With smartphones in hand, people can check the weather from bed, trade stocks—and gossip—while stuck in traffic, browse potential romantic partners between appointments, make online purchases while standing in-store, and live-stream each others’ experiences, in real time, from opposite sides of the globe. Although these devices have immense potential to improve welfare, their persistent presence may come at a cognitive cost,” read the report.

In the research, they tested the brain drain hypothesis whereby the mere presence of one’s own smartphone has the ability to make one take up one’s concentration leaving limited time for them to do other activities thereby minimizing cognitive performance.

“Results from the 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. Moreover, these cognitive costs are highest for those highest in smartphone dependence and even if it was turned off and face down on the desk, the mere sight of one's own smartphone seemed to still reduce brain activity by depleting finite cognitive resources.

And given 46 per cent of people globally say that they cannot live without them and on average, smartphone owners interact with their devices at least 85 times a day including immediately upon waking up, just before going to sleep, and even in the middle of the night it can be quite a hard habit to break.

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