American scientists from the University
at Austin conducted a study
, during which it became clear that the mere presence of a smartphone next to a person reduces the mental abilities of the owner. No, it is not about the fact that electromagnetic waves somehow magically disrupt the functioning of brain neurons. Experts speak about quite real things, without the slightest admixture of fiction and fantasies about the transfer of reality. The fact is that the smartphone is constantly distracting a person, this is true even if the phone is nearby, without giving any signals.
To test the possible impact of the phone on a person’s mental abilities, scientists divided the volunteers into several groups. Representatives of all groups were asked to sit at the computer and perform a series of tests that help to determine the mental abilities of a person. Basically, we tested the ability to keep certain data in mind, doing (again in mind) calculations.
Before starting the tests, participants were asked to arrange the phone in a certain way. Someone was told to put the phone screen down on the table, someone to hide the device in a bag or give it to the observer from the next room. Regardless of the location of the phone, all devices were set to silent mode.
As it turned out, those participants whose phones were located in another room, performed the tests best of all, and the advantage was significant, above the statistical error. The results of participants from a group of people whose phones were removed as much as possible turned out to be higher than those of volunteers whose devices were placed in a bag or just a pocket of pants.
After analyzing the results of this experiment, the scientists came to the conclusion about which it is said above: a part of the human thought resources are being pulled to the nearby apparatus. Even if the owner of the device, as it seems to him, does not pay any attention to the device, the call or signal waits subconsciously. Accordingly, the level of mental abilities decreases. “We have noticed a linear relationship, which allows us to say that the more visible the phone is to the user, the lower the level of cognitive abilities of this person,” says the head of the research group. "Your mind can be free of thoughts about the phone, but the subconscious process, put into a mode of waiting for a signal from the phone, uses brain resources, depleting it."
In another experiment, the researchers tried to find out whether the user can become aware of their dependence on the phone and how strongly this dependence affects cognitive abilities. First, scientists interviewed people, asking them to report how badly volunteers need their devices. And then they repeated the first experiment, in the same way randomly placing the participants' smartphones, having previously disconnected them (phones, not volunteers).
In general, the results can not be called amazing. It turned out that those who depended the most on their phone didn’t perform the tasks provided by scientists. And the results are not affected in any way by the mode of operation of the device - on or off. At anything and delaying the user's attention to notifications or calls - the phones were turned off, and not just put in silent mode. So, participants in the experiment could fully concentrate on performing their tasks.
Well, if we talk about how the phone distracts the attention of a person while working with the device, here you can find many amazing examples. During a conversation with a virtual interlocutor, walking along the street, the person almost does not notice anything. Somehow they conducted an experiment when a brightly dressed-up clown riding a unicycle passed by in front of people engaged in a cell phone conversation. Of course, he passed not at arm's length, but practically near. As a result, it turned out that the vast majority of people talking on the phone did not notice this clown. Then these same people were very surprised that they had not seen such a prominent character.
For the same reason, distraction, drivers of different countries are prohibited from talking on the phone while driving. Moreover, in some countries even automobile hands-free were banned. If the driver comes across, he has to pay a huge amount as a fine. As you can see, this still makes sense.
DOI: 10.1086 / 691462