In the article, The brain in your pocket: Evidence that smartphones are used to supplant thinking written by Barr, Pennycook, Stolz, and Fugelsang, what is being is studied is whether smartphones have an impact on human’s ability to think for ourselves. The hypothesis that is being studied is whether heavy smartphone leads to people being so depended on smartphone they cause humans to avoid deeper thinking such as intuitive and heuristic thinking or just plain not thinking altogether.
To test the hypothesis out a test the association between Smartphone use and heuristic thinking, they give participants heuristics questions along with asking participants if they have a smartphone and how much time they spend on the on it particularly using search engines.
The result of study one was the fact that participants who had higher smartphone usage scored lower on the heuristic test than those who use smartphones less. Study one supports the hypothesis. One strength about all three studies that took place in this study is the method of how they obtain their sample by using Mechanical Turk an online marketplace where workers sign up to participant and having it be a paid study. In study two they extended the cognitive tasks include cognitive ability measures.
You see after they did this and ran the test again the results came back that there wasn’t that much difference between high smartphone users and low smartphones use. Not only did they look at smartphone usage they look at computer usages as will. They were roughly equal. In study three they look at smartphone usages and academics. Previous research in the past have focused on smartphone as a source of distraction in an educational setting. In this study they look at Canadian undergraduate students, they use the same method of choosing their sample as they have before by excluding students who failed the attention check question.
The results where they’re was a marginal difference with individuals have better reasoning performance for non-smartphone users. After all, there studies we can see a that the more people use their smartphone to do their thinking the less they think for themselves.
A flaw that I saw in all three studies was that participants who failed the attention check question were excluded from the study, with this I don’t think they have a fair representation of the population that is being studied. The article talks about alternative explanations, one being that multiple potential online uses of smartphone. They hypothesized a direct link between cognitive uselessness and the use of smartphones as an information source.
My opinion on the scientific merit of the article is good. I use my smartphone all the time to find answer to questions, even though if I just think hard enough or just think at all I can obtain the information myself. The studies tried to avoid as much bias it could in the sample, and I think the study did a good job of proving its hypothesis.
- Associations between smartphone use and everyday life: The role of self-control
- Take Note: How Smartphones Can Improve Student Learning
- Smartphone Practices, Routines, and Habits: A Study with Adolescents in Germany
- Quantitative assessment of smartphone usage trends among teenagers using Apple Screen Time statistics (STRAAAP study)
- Everyday Mobile Phone Dependence and Its Psychological Predictors