The Mindful Leadership Blog

Just In! YIKES! Your Smartphone Can Make You Dumb

July 13th, 2017


What’s hot?


A study by the University of Texas at Austin* reveals that your cognitive capacity is reduced when your smartphone is within reach – even when it is off.


So what?


In tests that measured participants ability to hold and process data, those with their smartphones in another room significantly outperformed those with their phones on the desk.  Why?  Because if your smartphone is readily accessible, part of your brain is actively working not to pick up or use the phone.  “It’s a brain drain,” according to the researchers.


What to do?


Test it for yourself.  For the next week:

  • Leave your cell phone in a room other than where you work.
  • Decide to check it only once or twice a day at a given time.
  • If it frees your mind from worry about not being available for
    an emergency, give your office number to the handful of people who might need to contact you.

Let us know if you notice an increase in your cognitive capacity.


*Adrian F. Ward, Kristen Duke, Ayelet Gneezy, Maarten W. Bos. Brain Drain: The Mere Presence of One’s Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 2017; 2 (2): 140 DOI: 10.1086/691462

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