iPhone should be by your side during tests and assignments?

Research from the University of Missouri has linked iPhone separation to physiological anxiety and poor cognitive performance; which honestly doesn’t take me by surprise. The advances in technology have definitely made an impact in users’ lifestyles, physically, socially and psychologically and seem to be the blame for everything. Electronic devices, especially mobile phones have become a common part of everyday life to communicate. We can all say that we basically can’t live without our phones… metaphorically that is. Some may even say they have ‘withdrawal issues’ when it is taken from them.

The research has found that ‘cell phone separation have serious psychological and physiological effects on iPhone users, including poor performance on cognitive tests’. Researchers even suggest that during situations where attention is essential, such as during exams, completing assignments and during work; users should avoid parting with their iPhones (Hurst 2015).

‘The results from our study suggest that iPhones are capable of becoming an extension of ourselves such that when separated, we experience a lessening of ‘self’ and a negative physiological state’. – Russel Clayton (lead author of the study)

The article continues to describe the various experiments conducted with or without an iPhone and further establishes the difference and reactions between the two. The first experiment included an individual completing a puzzle without their iPhone by their side while their heart rate, blood pressure and levels of anxiety were recorded. Once their iPhones were called and were finished ringing, another collection of the heart rate etc. were monitored and recorded. Therefore, researchers found a decrease in puzzle performance when participants were separated from their phones. Participants were told that the purpose of the experiment was to ‘test the reliability of a new wireless blood pressure cuff’. This ensures that participants’ results aren’t influenced by the general idea.

As the article is written as a news release, the article is simply just providing facts and statements rather than complete details with evidence of results. Therefore the author is a reporter, not an administrator of the experimental study and the article may be aimed at students or just the general public that may be interested on the results of the study.

The method used to precede the study may be questionable as when the phone was separated from the participant; it rang, thus making the individual feel anxious; simply because he was curious to the importance of the call or who it could be and was distracted. Would the individual still have the same results if the phone didn’t ring? Or if they couldn’t hear it ring? Therefore, the validation of the findings may be questionable. Think about it, if you were at home and your home phone had rung, wouldn’t you quickly go to the phone to pick it up?


Clayton, R., Leshner, G. and Almond, A. (2015). The Extended iSelf: The Impact of iPhone Separation on Cognition, Emotion, and Physiology. J Comput-Mediat Comm, 20(2), pp.119-135.

Hurst, N. (2015). iPhone Separation Linked to Physiological Anxiety, Poor Cognitive Performance, MU Study Finds. [online] Munews.missouri.edu. http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2015/0108-iphone-separation-linked-to-physiological-anxiety-poor-cognitive-performance-mu-study-finds/  [Accessed 11 Apr. 2015].


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