How Smartphones Make Us Smarter
September 17, 2021
Smartphones have become so useful that the ways they make our lives easier is taken for granted. This has become true to the point that the majority of the news about smartphones is how they negatively affect our lives, when in reality there are many positives to having one.
Most of those advantages are easy to name once you think about it:
- A GPS device, watch, phone and camera in a single handheld device
- Apps to connect users to their banks, the weather report, friends, their to-do lists and their emails
- An ability to stay connected with work or family and friends from almost anywhere in the world
- The ability to “google” or search for nearly anything, from an old flame to a current score to the name of a book whose title we’ve forgotten
Even if those reasons aren’t enough for you, here’s one more: a new study shows that smartphones make us smarter.
To a large degree, our increased smarts are due to cognitive offloading, where someone chooses a shortcut of some kind to remember something for them or to aid them in a problem. It’s the same process as when kids use their fingers to help them count, and when someone writes something down on a piece of paper instead of trying to remember it by themselves.
In the study, researchers found that people used technology to help them remember things and be productive, but they easily reverted back to doing those same tasks without a smartphone when it wasn’t available. Basically, it extends our ability to get things done but does not replace it.
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