Are smartphones making us lazy thinkers?

2 years 3 weeks 2 days ago March 06, 2015 Mar 6, 2015 Friday, March 06 2015 Friday, March 06, 2015 5:37:00 PM CST in News
By: Spencer Wilson, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - Smartphones can be great for gathering all sorts of information, but scientists think there could be some side effects to having unlimited access to unlimited knowledge.

A new study from the University of Waterloo suggests while smartphones help us find information, they are making us lazy thinkers. The study says people don't bother to think of things or remember information themselves, but simply look up what they need on their smartphones.

"Our minds can only have so much information in them," said Columbia resident Adam Koch. "The way that smartphones are set up, you don't really need to remember things like phone numbers anymore."

MU Professor of Psychology Jeff Rouder says he doesn't think smartphones are going to affect the way we think.

"I think it's like paper, you know, when paper came along, there were lots of things we offloaded to it and that was fine, and we went on just fine." Rouder said. "Cellphones are no different."

The study goes on to say smartphones could negatively affect how we use our brains as we get older, but Rouder still says he doesn't quite see that happening.

"We don't forget how to speak, we don't forget all our important milestones in our life unless dementia is involved," Rouder said. "What we do have trouble figuring out is where we parked the car today. I just can't see a relationship between forgetting things as we get older and smartphones." 

While Rouder said he couldn't recall most phone numbers, he did say he wont forget two.

"I know my mom's number, and I know 'Jenny's' number, 867-5309," Rouder said with a grin. 

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