The advance of technology brings us various gadgets including smartphones with incredible features that are designed to make our life easier. Additionally, we have the option to download various applications onto our phone. We have social media apps, weather apps, and apps for every aspect of our lives. However, is this new technology affecting our intelligence and thought process? The answer to that question can be found further in the article.
How smartphones affect our cognitive function
You already know this scenario: you’re working on an important project, driving, or even watching TV or having dinner and you constantly feel this urge to check your phone and see whether someone replied to your message or what’s new on your favorite app. Spending too much time without a phone, especially Wi-Fi connection, makes you feel like you are missing something important. In turn, you are unable to focus on your everyday tasks and obligations.
These urges to check your phone and open one app at a time are considered as interruptions that together with feeling of being obliged to respond or even check something at that particular time act as a challenge to your cognitive control system.
Cognitive control is defined as the ability of an individual to focus on accomplishing a certain task. This ability is responsible for all accomplishments that one person or entire society achieves.
However, with today’s and future technology an average person experiences increased number of interruptions mentioned above that affect his or her cognitive functions.
For example, there is extensive evidence which shows that our brain is sensitive to these unimportant distractions and multitasking. Checking your applications while working at the same time decreases your performance and cognitive abilities. For example, you might not remember some important details about your life, etc. This happens because all these distractions that are interrupting your cognitive functions are overloading your brain which results with memory lapses.
What does science say?
According to Adam Gazzaley, M.D, Ph.D., American cognitive neuroscientist, even the simplest task that interrupts you while you are holding an important piece of information can degrade your memory of it. For example, when you are working on a demanding project or studying for an important exam, checking your phone apps constantly intervene with that information, and you might not be able to recall it later.
This happens because the part of your brain which is supposed to memorize information is disrupted. For this reason, according to Gazzaley multitasking can be regarded as a myth as you can perform one action effectively while neglecting the other. In this case, using your apps decreases the performance of other actions.
Aren’t apps invented to make our lives easier?
The general idea behind every new technology improvement is to make person’s life easier. However, with the advance of the technology behind manufacturing smartphones we have the ability to download applications related to every aspect of our lives. This makes us pay more attention to our phone than to real-life events and obligations.
An average person picks up his or her phone about 221 times a day. Naturally, once yu pick up your phone you don’t just open a new message and reply to it; you open other applications as well just to see “what’s new” there. When you wake up the first thing you do is to take your phone and when you are in bed you take your phone with you and spend all night browsing one app after another. According to Russell Johnson, assistant professor of management at the Michigan State University, smartphones are devices that are perfectly designed to interrupt our sleeping patterns.
When you don’t have regular sleeping patterns, it shows in everything you do. Your productivity at work decreases, focus, and concentration reduce as well, and it makes you stressed, irritated, and even adds to the anxiety. Getting enough sleep is crucial for the overall health of our body.
Why you shouldn’t have too many apps on your phone :
New technology can, indeed, affect your intelligence and thought process and as much as various applications sound interesting and practical you should always try not to download them. Why? To function properly, your brain has to be challenged. That challenge comes in the form of doing various tasks that you would usually solve with one click in the app. If you use a phone app for every assignment that you can do on your own with a little effort, your brain won’t be challenged anymore. In turn, the thought process decreases and soon you will find it difficult to come up with solutions to simplest processes as the concentration, focus, and other cognitive abilities aren’t sharp anymore.
Instead, try to solve various tasks using your brain and make sure you stay away from your phone when you’re studying and working on the important project.
Having too many applications on your phone affects cognitive abilities as the brain isn’t challenged to perform various tasks anymore. Checking your phone while working or studying affects your memory too. Luckily, in future technology developments we will see some inventions and features that will boost our brain power and sharpen it in form of apps that people will use to probe their cognitive abilities and track their progress through years.