Applied Cognitive Psychology

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An examination of the potential lingering effects of smartphone use on cognition

Summary Smartphones might offer an extension of our own cognitive abilities, potentially preventing practice of certain forms of cognition. Our first study established that heavier usage of smartphones was negatively correlated with social problem solving and delayed gratification, as well as positively correlated with some aspects of critical thinking. Studies 2 and 3 involved experiments where participants were assigned to either a lower or higher smartphone usage group. In both experiments, higher usage of smartphones led only to a diminished ability to interpret and analyze the deeper meaning of information. However, Study 3 showed that, after a 4‐week interval, the difference in the ability to interpret and analyze meaning between lower and higher phone usage groups was no longer evident. The findings of this study suggest that, even in the rare cases where smartphones might alter cognition, this effect is likely transitory.

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