In between work, people often get stuck in their smartphones. But researchers at Rutgers University found that it does not allow the brain to fully relax. As a result, the use of the phone between complex mental activities leads to reduced efficiency.
During the experiment, the researchers asked 414 students to solve 20 complex puzzles. On half of the tasks, some of them were allowed to relax and take their smartphones. Others used paper or a computer during the break, and some did not interrupt at all when performing tasks.
The test participants, who used a smartphone during the break, showed the highest levels of mental exhaustion, and later it was more difficult for them to solve puzzles. Their efficiency and speed after a pause were comparable to those who worked without stopping. These participants solved a little more problems than those who did not take a break at all, but significantly less in comparison with the rest of the participants in the experiment. Students who got distracted by their smartphones took 19% more time to complete the rest of the tasks.
"Using the phone between tasks or intermediate tasks is becoming more common. It is important to know the impact of using this device in every spare minute. We assume that such a holiday is no different from any other, but at the same time the phone can increase the level of distraction, which makes it difficult to resume focus on work after a break," said Terry Kurzberg, co-author and Associate Professor of management Rutgers Business School.
According to her, the very presence of the phone makes a person think about checking messages, communication and constant access to new information.