Before we get to the video at the end of the page, a preamble: There are very few technologies which have changed the ability to bring out human potential in a historic fashion; the printing press, the steam engine, the Internet are some examples.
In the last decade or so, mobile telephony, with the Internet piggy backing it, has penetrated the globe to an extent that even the poorest of the world have seen changes to the way they live. No other technology has had this ability to permeate humanity in such a short time frame. Then came the smartphone.
The smartphone is more than just a phone, a camera, or a collection of apps. It is the one thing that connects everything — the hub of the connected world.
The presence of one’s smartphone enables on-demand access to information, entertainment, social stimulation, and more.Our dependence on the device has reached a point where the loss of a smartphone can be devastating in its consequences.
All this comes at a price. The human brain, marvellous as it is, has serious limitations on the amount of information that it can process at a given moment. Our sense organs receive thousands of bits of information every second but all this has to be squeezed through a filter than can accommodate only about 60–80 bits per second. Our “cognitive bandwidth” is surprisingly small.
Multitasking seriously drains this bandwidth and affects cognitive performance in a major fashion. A lot of multitasking happens at a subliminal plane. Considering the importance of the smartphone in our lives, it is not surprising that its benefits come at a cognitive cost. The mere presence of one’s own smartphone may induce “brain drain” by occupying limited-capacity cognitive resources for purposes of attentional control.
Click here to see a short video that summarises the results of a study that clearly showed the detrimental impact of the mere physical presence of a smartphone in the users vicinity.
If your would like to read the original article, it is available here.
SOURCE: Journal of the Association for Consumer Research
Arjun has spent four decades as a surgeon, educator and medical administrator. Fellow, Royal College of Surgeons of Canada and Member, Association of Surgeons of India, he has been associated with Sundaram Medical Foundation as the Medical Director since its inception and opening to the public in 1994. He did his residency training in General Surgery from the Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois. After a 22-year stint as Trustee, Medical Director and Head, Department of Surgery at Sundaram Medical Foundation, he handed over the reins of the hospital but continues to provide advice and insights as Advisor and Trustee. Following his retirement from active practice, he has now embarked on a wider mission of forming a community of people, from all spheres of activity, who are interested in these three areas: thinking, teaching and talking.