However, there is no extant research to validate the basic concern that motivated the challenge. Investigating the cognitive impacts of filling the small breaks in our day with inputs from smartphone engagement is perhaps another endeavor worth pursuing, but not one that is yet represented in the peer reviewed literature. As discussed earlier in our review, there are many limitations to the literature that forms the basis for this paper. Chief among these is that there is very little longitudinal evidence on the long-term consequences of frequent smartphone usage.
Now is the time to begin gathering the data for such studies. A particularly important topic that requires longitudinal data is the effect of smartphone ownership on young children. Despite widely publicized recommendations AAP Council on Communications and Media, a , b , we know very little about the most appropriate age for a child to begin using a smartphone, and we know equally little about the consequences of using one too early in life.
A longitudinal study with a large sample size should be developed in which children are assessed on a variety of cognitive and affective outcome measures at multiple time points. In a study such as this, data could also be gathered to ascertain the degree to which children with smartphones or other portable sources of immediate gratification, such as portable video game systems, are influenced by these devices. Analysis of group differences in rates of maturity of certain cognitive processes could also provide information about how smartphone technology can affect the brain during periods of heightened developmental plasticity.
It is possible, but untested, that frequent smartphone usage could be less harmful to adults, whereas children may experience more negative consequences as a result of their increased neural plasticity. If emerging research does suggest that there are serious consequences of smartphone usage, we need to investigate potential practical approaches that could mitigate these effects. In particular, it seems likely that social activities such as text messaging, email, and social media use will have different impacts than gaming or browsing the web, yet very little is known about the specific concerns related to these seemingly disparate patterns of use.
Scientists have already begun to suggest that smartphones could present a more convenient and more naturalistic method of gathering empirical data for cognitive and social psychology experiments Raento et al. Moreover, as smartphones become increasingly interlaced with our cognitive functioning, it will be important to continue to gather detailed usage metrics to understand how these interactions are affecting us, and how are lives are accordingly shaped.
There is an immense opportunity for additional research to be performed with the aim of giving psychologists and the world-at-large a better understanding the short-term and long-term effects of smartphone technology. HW and JC conceived and developed the project. HW conducted primary literature review with additional input from LS, both working under the supervision and guidance of JC. HW wrote the initial draft manuscript. JC provided primary editorial feedback, and both JC and LS contributed additional written sections to the manuscript. All authors were involved in final preparation of the manuscript.
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Front Psychol v. Front Psychol.
Published online Apr Henry H.
TRANSINDIVIDUAL-TRANSVERSAL SUBJECTIVITY FOR THE POSTHUMAN SOCIETY
Wilmer , Lauren E. Sherman , and Jason M. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Chein, ude. This article was submitted to Cognition, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology. Received Jan 19; Accepted Apr 3.
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Keywords: smartphones, mobile technology, media multitasking, attention, memory, delay of gratification and delay discounting, everyday cognition. Introduction As portable media devices, such as smartphones, have become an increasingly pervasive part of our lives, they have also become increasingly capable of supplementing, or even supplanting, various mental functions. Challenges and Limitations in Scope The 21st century has already provided us with a vast array of technological advances that markedly shape the ways by which we interact with the world.
Table 1 Representative publications exploring associations between technology usage and cognitive domains. Reference Finding summary Attention Alzahabi and Becker, Frequent media multitaskers are better at task switching; No correlation with dual-task performance Cain and Mitroff, Effect of media multitasking on distractor filtering is due to differences in attentional scope rather than working memory capacity Leiva et al.
This relationship is mediated by impulse control Zhang and Zhang, Different patterns of media multitasking result in different sorts of gratification Everyday cognition and executive functioning Abramson et al. Open in a separate window. Mobile Technology Use and Attention A concern that pre-dates smartphone technology is the rising incidence in the diagnosis of attentional difficulties, most specifically ADHD, in children and adolescents e. Attention: Summary The research reviewed above provides some limited empirical support for claims about the effect of smartphone technology on our attentional capacities.
Mobile Technology Use, Memory, and Knowledge Smartphones provide constant access to an endless and ever-improving database of collective knowledge. Mobile Technology Use, Delay of Gratification, and Reward Processing In addition to their effects on memory and attention, smartphones and related media are often implicated as the cause of a perceived cultural shift toward a necessity for immediate gratification Alsop, Delay of Gratification and Reward: Summary As with the research highlighted in the previous sections of this paper, the data is still too sparse to support firm conclusions regarding the impacts of smartphone use on reward processing and delay of gratification.
Mobile Technology Use and Everyday Cognitive Functioning Given the pattern of findings in attention, memory, and the ability to regulate reward-related processing in the context of delay of gratification, it follows that we might expect to see links to more generalized measures of cognitive functioning.
Conclusion Smartphones and related mobile technologies have the potential to affect a wide range of cognitive domains, but empirical research on the cognitive impacts of smartphone technology is still quite limited. Conflict of Interest Statement The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Footnotes Funding. Media and Young Minds. Pediatrics Vol. Mobile telephone use is associated with changes in cognitive function in young adolescents.
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