Cell phones distract less frequent internet users more

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​Tokyo, Jan 8 (IANS) If you are an infrequent internet user, then mere presence of a smartphone can adversely affect your cognitive performance, a study has found. "The mere presence of a mobile phone was a distraction among infrequent internet users," said Jun-ichiro Kawahara, Associate Professor at Hokkaido University, Japan. The researchers also found that people who are often glued to a screen are not easily distracted by the presence of a cell phone. In presence of a mobile phone, people are automatically drawn to it and then the individual differences decide how they attempt to ignore it. Researchers measured the effect of mobile phones on the ability to pay attention of 40 undergraduate students divided into two groups. The researchers placed a mobile phone next to a computer monitor, asked the participants of one group to search for a target character amongst other characters that appeared on the monitor screen. For the another group, a memo pad of the same size as the phone was placed by the monitor, and the same experiment was conducted. The participants were asked about how frequently they use and how attached they are to the internet. The researchers found that people who infrequently used the internet took longer to find the target character than the control group. On the other hand, it was found that heavy users were not distracted by the phone and rather more efficient to notice the target when it appeared on the side of the monitor where the mobile phone was placed. The study -- published in the journal Japanese Psychological Research -- also suggests that the influence of a mobile phone on users' cognitive performance differed depending on the degree of their internet usage.
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