CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) — A new study of college students shows the increasingly pervasive use of digital technology may be causing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-like symptoms among the general population.
The study was a collaborative effort between the University of Virginia and the University of British Columbia
“Less than ten years ago, Steve Jobs promised that smartphones ‘will change everything,'” said Kostadin Kushlev, a psychology research scientist at UVA. “And with the Internet in their pockets, people today are bombarded with notifications, whether from email, text messages social media or news apps, anywhere they go. We are seeking to better understand how this constant inflow of notifications influences our minds.”
According to recent polls, Kushlev says that as many as 95 percent of smartphone users have used their phone during social gatherings, seven in ten admitted to using their phones while working, and one in ten checked their phone during sex.
In the study, researchers found more symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity when smartphones were not in silent mode.
“We found the first experimental evidence that smartphone interruptions can cause greater inattention and hyperactivity, symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, even in people drawn from a nonclinical population,” said Kushlev.
The study looked at more than 200 students who were assigned to maximize phone interruptions by keeping notification alerts on and their phones within reach for one week.
During a second week, participants turned off their alerts and kept their phones away.
After filling out surveys regarding their weeks-long work, the students reported significantly higher levels of hyperactivity when the alerts were on.
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