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Brain Drain: The Mere Presence of One’s Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity

Adrian F. Ward, Kristen Duke, Ayelet Gneezy, and Maarten W. Bos

Abstract:
we test the “brain drain” hypothesis that the mere presence of one’s own smartphone may occupy limited-capacity cognitive resources, thereby leaving fewer resources available for other tasks and undercutting cognitive performance. Results from two experiments indicate that even when people are successful at maintaining sustained attention—as when avoiding the temptation to check their phones—the mere presence of these devices reduces available cognitive capacity.

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