Title

The Effect of Smartphone-Induced ‘Brain Drain' on the Cognitive Capacity and Fluid Intelligence of High School Students

Author(s)

Taahera Islam

School Name

Spring Valley High School

Grade Level

11th Grade

Presentation Topic

Psychology

Presentation Type

Non-Mentored

Abstract

Smartphones are an essential connection to a world outside of one's personal locus that provide an outlet to entertainment, infinite knowledge, and personal communication. Although there are a number of reasons as to why smartphones could improve quality of life, their impending presence may negatively affect the cognition of high school students. In this study, the "brain drain" hypothesis was tested. It states 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. It was hypothesized that the mere presence of one's own smartphone reduces available cognitive capacity/functioning as well as fluid intelligence. In order to test the hypotheses, Richland School District 2 students in a variety of course levels including honors, college prep, advanced placement, language, and elective courses voluntarily participated in testing. Smartphone salience was manipulated by asking participants to place their devices in one of the following conditions: nearby and in sight (1 high salience, "desk" condition), nearby and out of sight (2 medium salience, "pocket/bag" condition), or in a separate room (3 low salience, "other room" condition). The students were required to take two tests and complete a post-test survey. Data were analyzed and compared. Results from this study indicated that even when students were efficient in preserving sustained attention (as in evading the temptation to check their phones), the mere presence of these electronic devices did in fact reduce available cognitive capacity.

Location

Furman Hall 208

Start Date

3-28-2020 9:44 AM

Presentation Format

Oral and Written

Group Project

No

COinS
 
Mar 28th, 9:44 AM

The Effect of Smartphone-Induced ‘Brain Drain' on the Cognitive Capacity and Fluid Intelligence of High School Students

Furman Hall 208

Smartphones are an essential connection to a world outside of one's personal locus that provide an outlet to entertainment, infinite knowledge, and personal communication. Although there are a number of reasons as to why smartphones could improve quality of life, their impending presence may negatively affect the cognition of high school students. In this study, the "brain drain" hypothesis was tested. It states 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. It was hypothesized that the mere presence of one's own smartphone reduces available cognitive capacity/functioning as well as fluid intelligence. In order to test the hypotheses, Richland School District 2 students in a variety of course levels including honors, college prep, advanced placement, language, and elective courses voluntarily participated in testing. Smartphone salience was manipulated by asking participants to place their devices in one of the following conditions: nearby and in sight (1 high salience, "desk" condition), nearby and out of sight (2 medium salience, "pocket/bag" condition), or in a separate room (3 low salience, "other room" condition). The students were required to take two tests and complete a post-test survey. Data were analyzed and compared. Results from this study indicated that even when students were efficient in preserving sustained attention (as in evading the temptation to check their phones), the mere presence of these electronic devices did in fact reduce available cognitive capacity.