Is Text Messaging Worse Than Marijuana For Your Brain?

from the hmm... dept

Remember that study from a few months ago saying that driving while talking on the phone made you “older” and “drunker” by giving you reaction times closer to people much older, or who were beyond the legal limit of alcohol? Well, forget the driving part altogether. A new report has come out claiming that just using mobile phones for text messaging alone will knock a good 10 points off your IQ (temporarily) which is worse than the effect of marijuana. The story (found by certainly seems a bit odd. The details (imagine that!) aren’t quite as exciting as the headline would have you believe. It appears that this is just a slight variation on psychologists who come out with an announcement about some random technology addiction because it sounds good and gets them extra attention for their business — without ever looking into whether or not that addiction is actually dangerous or a problem in any way. Apparently playing the addiction card is a bit overused, so these psychologists went with the “makes you stupid” card — which is a bit more unique. However, the reality is they’re just discussing what appears to be a simple variation on what others have said: the constant distraction of certain technologies is, well, distracting. That can impair our ability to concentrate fully, and the net impact is similar to a reduction in IQ. So, basically, if you’re so Pavlovian to respond instantly to every text message hitting your phone, it takes away some of your ability to concentrate on other stuff. Of course, that doesn’t sound nearly as sexy as saying “text messaging is worse than pot for your brain” when the reality is basically “distracting technologies when overused can be… distracting.”

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