iPhone Users More Stupid When Separated From Their Phones

iPhone 8JESHOOTS / Pixabay

If you were not already aware of how far technology has come to rule our lives, the results of a new study could make you worry.

Is your smartphone always by your side? Do you consistently invest in supplementary technology in order to be connected in situations that were not previously possible? If the answer is yes then you should take note of the following.

iPhone separation anxiety

Researchers at the University of Missouri separated a group of iPhone owners from their prized possessions, before measuring their results in certain cognitive tests. “Our findings suggest that iPhone separation can negatively impact performance on mental tasks,” said lead study author Russell Clayton.

Who knew that just being away from your smartphone could in effect make you more stupid? And if that wasn’t bad enough, the iPhone has taken on a more significant psychological role too. “Additionally, the results from our study suggest that iPhones are capable of becoming an extension of our selves such that when separated, we experience a lessening of ‘self’ and a negative physiological state,” continued Clayton.

In order to carry out a fair test, the researchers told the subjects that they were testing a wireless blood pressure cuff, before making them solve word puzzles, which they had to attempt both with and without their faithful iPhones. The study covered 40 iPhone users, and it is not yet known whether Android users suffer the same separation anxiety.

Truly illuminating?

The researchers told a little white lie to get the subjects to surrender their phones, telling them that they were interfering with the signal from the blood pressure cuff. Not only did they separate master and phone, perhaps human and master is more fitting, but they then called the phone during the tests.

Cognitive function took a nosedive when separated, and even more so following the staged phone call. Is this really a sign of acute technology dependence or could it be a natural response to the possibility of bad news?

Can this research be applied to owners of other brands of smartphone or are iPhone users particularly susceptible to separation anxiety? The study certainly raises more questions than answers.


About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at theflask@gmail.com