A study from the University of Missouri finally uses scientific methods to justify the anxiety people feel when separated from their cell phones. It’s actual separation anxiety — the kind with mounting heart rates and increased blood pressure. But here’s a consequence we didn’t see coming: After asking subjects to complete puzzles and other cognitive tests, researchers found that people who were separated from their phones performed worse than those who had their phones nearby. Cell-phone separation makes us dumb.
The study suggests that the decrease in cognitive ability might be due to the phoneless people being too distracted — by their mounting heart rates, sweaty palms, and increased blood pressure — to focus. But, also, they didn’t have quick and easy access to Google.