One Reason Smartphones Are Not So Smart

Here's a great reason to ban cell phones from schools: a new study from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin shows that one's cognitive capacity is significantly reduced when a smartphone is within reach. And this is true even when it's powered off!  

So the mere presence of one's smartphone and the allure that it offers impairs cognitive functioning and reduces our available capacity to stay present to what's happening around us. In other words, when smartphones are in our learning environments, they make their users less smart! The study out of the McCombs School also demonstrated there's a linear trend in our divided attention. As the smartphone becomes more noticeable, people's available cognitive capacity decreases. Why? It's because we think we can focus on two things at once and do them both well simultaneously. But neuroscientists will tell you that's not possible. Instead, our attention oscillates between what we are meant to be doing and any distractions in the room, including the nearest device. So next time you're sitting in a classroom or trying to focus on an important activity, hide your smartphone--or better yet--leave it behind.  

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