There are those who believe smartphones are making users less smart, but a study from the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada, found the devices actually tend to make users lazy.
Researchers tracked the smartphone habits of 660 people and found that the more people used their mobile devices to access search engines, the more likely they were to rely on intuitive thinking. Analytical thinkers in the study were much less likely to use smartphones as search engines.
“We don’t really like to do the extra work that comes with analytical thinking,” David Wagner, executive editor of Community & IT Life, wrote in a column for InformationWeek. “We prefer heuristic or intuitive thinking. The problem is that heuristic thinking is more likely to be wrong than a solution reached when we stop and think about stuff for a minute.”
The research also found that offloading information to smartphones led users to rely on it more and learn less.
“The good news is that smartphones probably aren’t a pact with the devil by which we agree to receive all knowledge in the world via the Internet without having the intellect to use it,” Wagner wrote. “Smartphones don’t make us dumb. They make us lazy. They make us cognitive misers. If we’re willing to give up the lazy habits and employ our cognitive skills, we’ll use the smartphone the right way.”