Keeping the smartphone close by and frequent checking may be linked to other forms of compulsive behaviours, such as substance abuse

In case you feel addressed or just plain curious to learn more about your love life with that seemingly indispensible gadget, here is the paper. It also touches the subject of intelligence, a slight lack precisely of it, for those too much attached to that device. You should also be concerned if you use multiple messenger services. Just saying. Have we mentioned poor conceptual reasoning yet? Anyway, here is

Cognitive Ability, Reward Processing and Personality Associated with Different Aspects of Smartphone Use

Smartphone use has become ubiquitous. Keeping smartphones close and always on, with alerts for new messages, etc., means that users experience unprecedented levels of distracting and reinforcing stimulation, with wide-ranging psychological implications. We interviewed 121 students to record aspects of smartphone me, personality, psychological distress, cognitive, social-cognitive, and reward processing.

We found that questionnaire-measured problematic phone use is linked to poorer academic performance and to higher psychological distress, neuroticism, psychometric impulsivity and image management. Observational measures of smartphone use revealed a quite different pattern of associations. In particular, novel findings of this research are that keeping a smartphone close and frequent checking is linked to poor performance on cognitive tests, while use of multiple messenger services is linked with sensitivity to rewards in an experimental task, and to demand characteristics in an instrumental conditioning task.

Indeed, we found that a measure of keeping the smartphone close and frequent checking was associated with significantly lower performance on tests of sustained attention and of intelligence. As this was a student sample, we also included a real-life measure of productivity (GPA) which was found to be significantly lower in students with more problematic smartphone use.

Of the personality factors, neuroticism had the most consistent association with smartphone variables. There were significant positive associations with both problematic smartphone use measured with a questionnaire and with our measure of social media use. These are broadly consistent with previous research that has consistently linked higher neuroticism with smartphone addiction. The reasons for this are unclear, but it may represent the way that people higher on neuroticism tend to use the internet as a maladaptive coping strategy.

In addition, extraversion was associated with keeping the smartphone close by and frequent checking, and psychometric impulsivity was associated with problematic smartphone use. These observations are, again, consistent with some previous findings and may reflect the fact that impulsivity and extraversion are both linked to other forms of compulsive behaviours, such as substance abuse.

Indeed, we found that a measure of keeping the smartphone close and frequent checking was associated with significantly lower performance on tests of sustained attention and of intelligence.

The authors further argued that, as the smartphone users and non-users were not significantly different, it is unlikely that the pattern of results is due to those with weaker cognitive-analytical skills tending to become reliant on smartphones. Rather, the opposite may be true: smartphones cause people to be less analytic. This could potentially explain the poor intelligence test performance associated with smartphone use in the current research, as the association was driven entirely by performance on the semantic reasoning component. Our finding is consistent with the general finding of Barr et al. (2015) that ready access to smartphones is associated with poor conceptual reasoning.