“Perhaps sometimes when I smell freshly baked cookies, my brain can’t think about anything else except getting one of those cookies. So, I suppose it gets hijacked then.” True, but I am referring to hijacking that actually impacts our ability to rationally process our thoughts.
In a research study conducted with 520 subjects at the University of California, San Diego, two standard tests of intellectual acuity were administered. One measured available cognitive capacity while the other accessed a person’s ability to interpret and solve a problem. The only variable in the experiment was the location of the individual’s smartphone. Some subjects were instructed to place the phone on their desks, others in their pocket or handbag, and still others in a different room.
The short version of the study’s results were, “As the phone’s proximity increased, brainpower decreased.” Yet all participants stated that their phone hadn’t been a distraction.
In another study of the impact of smartphones, it was learned that as people have greater access to information on the web, their powers of discernment are diminished. This has created a gullibility crisis. As one researcher concluded, “If your phone has sapped your powers of discernment, you’ll believe anything it tells you.” You only have to go to Facebook posts to verify the reality of this.
While we are able to retrieve truckloads of data with our smartphones we have often lost the meaning of it, and upgrading our gadgets won’t fix the problem. “We need to give our minds more room to think. And that means putting some distance between ourselves and our phones.” This is good advice that I need to heed. How about you?