CINCINNATI, Ohio – Take a look around the room you’re in right now. Most of us have a smartphone in our hands, within arm’s length, or tucked into a pants pocket. For years, researchers have made a case that smart technology may be bad for our brainpower. Now, a team of researchers from the U.S. and Canada want you to know what they’ve discovered about digital devices and dumbing down.
Information at the touch of our fingertips or many touches of our fingertips.
Some scientists have theorized that scrolling quickly through multiple open apps makes us unfocused. Others have said that young people, especially, lose cognition, or brainpower when machines do the work for them.
Researchers studied four dozen published reports on smart tech use. They say despite the headlines …
“The arguments that they are making us dumber don’t hold up,” explained Anthony Chemero, Ph.D., a cognitive science researcher at the University of Cincinnati.
Instead, Chemero suggests smart technology makes us smarter.
“It’s because what it’s doing is enhancing our abilities to do smart things. It enhances our ability to do smart things by kind of offloading some of the tasks to a piece of technology,” Chemero, told Ivanhoe.
It’s technology that calculates, stores information and memorizes.
“Young people now don’t know anyone’s phone number. They might know their parents’ phone numbers. Sometimes they don’t even know their own phone number. So again, all that memory storage that we devoted to remembering phone numbers, we can now use for something else,” said Chemero.
For example, learning a new language or how to cook or draw. While there are drawbacks to smartphone use, like tech neck, sore digits, and disrupted sleep patterns, Chemero says making us dumb is not one.
Professor Chemero also said there are consequences to using certain types of apps. For example, some social media sites have been thought to decrease teens’ self-confidence and well-being---but again, that smart tech use is not impacting cognition.