Phones today are capable of much morethan making and receiving calls, including providing directions and recommending restaurants in an instant, but the convenience could be causing users to rely too heavily on their phones and not enough on their minds.
“They may look up information that they actually know or could easily learn, but are unwilling to make the effort to actually think about it,” co-author Gordon Pennycook said in a pressrelease.
But Pennycook cautioned that “whether smartphones actually decrease intelligence is still an open question that requires futureresearch.”
The study found analytical thinkers with stronger cognitive skills spent less time using their smartphone’s search-engine function, while more intuitive people relied on their phone much more.
“Decades of research has revealed that humans are eager to avoid expending effort when problem-solving and it seems likely that people will increasingly use their smartphones as an extended mind,” co-author Nathaniel Barr wrote.
The researchers said reliance on device-based problem-solving could have consequences for aging, and the trend will likely increase over time so further research is important.
The study was published online last month in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour.