Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Your Smartphone Is Bad For Your Brain


Own a mobile phone? 

Then there's a good chance your concentration is going to burn out in another paragraph, so we'll keep this nice and simple. 

Smartphones are seriously messing up your ability to remember stuff and ruining your concentration.

Still here? Good. 

An online survey of 6,000 people from the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Benelux by Kaspersky Labs has discovered a new trend that they're dubbing 'Digital Amnesia' - that found that if we're allowed to use a digital device to remember something for us, or have a service like Google provide us with instant answers, we are more likely to "forget" this information ourselves, even to the extent of failing to store information we immediately look up.

Over half of the study's participants couldn't call their children's phones without first looking up the number, with 90 per cent unable to recall their child's school phone number. Fifty one per cent couldn't remember their office phone number. 

A whopping 79.5 per cent of the survey respondents agreed that they use the internet as "an extension of their brain", with 61 per cent believing it unnecessary to remember facts they had discovered online as it would "always be there".

The study also looked at the emotional response that the participants had to losing their digital device or internet connection, with 38.1 per cent of participants stating that they would be "saddened" by losing a device due to loss of irreplaceable memories such as messages, photos and contact numbers.


The survey findings support the work of one Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: How The Internet Is Changing Our Brains - who believes that the 'Google effect' of finding information online easily is eroding our memory skills, in addition to reducing our ability to concentrate.

"If you’re constantly distracted and taking in new information, you’re essentially pushing information into and out of your conscious mind. You’re not attending to it in a way that is necessary for the rich consolidation of memory."

Sure - your smartphone is always going to be better at remembering phone numbers than you are, and shifting useless information like strings of numbers leaves more room for relevant facts. But as we start relying on it to give us a greater number of answers and memory cues, our ability to recall information will decline. 

"Forgetting becomes unhelpful when it involves losing information that we need to remember," explains Dr Kathryn Mills of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, who reviewed the research. "The act of memorisation is a skill, and its importance as one of the tools in our cognitive toolkit is dependent on how relevant memorisation is for us to effectively navigate our world. In other words: being able to memorise is an important skill to have only if we need it."

So forgetting is okay, so long as we're not relying entirely on the internet and gadgets. Here's hoping we remember that tomorrow.  

(Image: Shutterstock)

[Via: Kaspersky lab]




Scientist Finds Rare Bird And Then Kills It Because Science


5 weird news stories you (probably) missed this week


This Is What Scares Stephen Hawking More Than AI


Ridley Scott Knew There Was Water On Mars


Scientists Can Now 3D Print With Living Human Tissue


9 Things You Didn't Know Were Terrifying About Sleep



Amazon's new Alexa update means it can bring you beer in two hours

"Alexa, we're going to need more booze"

by Matt Tate
21 Mar 2017

This terrifying gadget allows you to make private calls in public

Be like Bane

by Gary Ogden
15 Mar 2017

You'll soon be able to pay for your shopping with your sunglasses

I'm still not happy until I can pay with my underwear

by Gary Ogden
15 Mar 2017

This iPhone case is actually just an entire new Android phone

A phone within a phone

by Gary Ogden
14 Mar 2017

There's a new app for opening bottles because everyone is lazy now

Put that wrist away!

by Gary Ogden
06 Mar 2017

These comments from 2001 about the world's first camera phone are gold

"Take pictures of friendly dogs I see when I walk around""I would use the camera phone to take pictures of my best friend, my dog Benson"

by Gary Ogden
01 Mar 2017

This projector turns anything into a touchscreen

We're living in the future

by Gary Ogden
28 Feb 2017

Everything we know about the new Nokia 3310

The brick is back

by Matt Tate
24 Feb 2017

20 Things You'll Only Understand If You Owned A Nokia 3310

14 Feb 2017

The Nokia 3310 is getting a relaunch (yes, really)

The return of the King

by Gary Ogden
14 Feb 2017