Are our smartphones afflicting us all with symptoms of ADHD?

Posted on May 12, 2016

Photo: flickr

Kushlev and his colleagues recruited 221 millennials – students at the University of British Columbia – to participate in a two-week study. These participants were recruited from the university’s general participant pool, rather than from a population of students diagnosed with ADHD.

During the first week, half the participants were asked to minimize phone interruptions by activating the “do-not-disturb” settings and keeping their phones out of sight and far from reach. The other half were instructed to keep their phone alerts on and their phones nearby whenever possible.

In the second week, they reversed the instructions: Participants who had used their phones’ “do-not-disturb” settings switched on phone alerts, and vice versa. The order in which they gave the instructions to each participant was randomly determined by a flip of a coin. This study design ensured that everything was kept constant, except for how frequently people were interrupted by their phones. They confirmed that people felt more interrupted by their phones when they had their phone alerts on, as opposed to having them off.

Inattentiveness and hyperactivity were measured by asking participants to identify how frequently they had experienced 18 symptoms of ADHD over each of the two weeks. The results showed that more frequent phone interruptions made people less attentive and more hyperactive.

These findings should concern us. Smartphones are the fastest-selling electronic gadget in history – in the 22 seconds it took to type this sentence, 1,000 smartphones were shipped to their new owners. Even if one of those 1,000 users became more likely to make a careless mistake, ignore a friend in the middle of a conversation or space out during a meeting, smartphones could be harming the productivity, relationships and well-being of millions.

To read the full article, click on the link below.


Source material from The Conversation


Mental Health News