The Effects of Cell Phone Distractions on Cognitive Flexibility
Journal of Advanced Student Sciences (JASS)
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The purpose of this experiment was to study the relationship between cognitive flexibility and cell phone anxiety measured by changes in the physiological responses of the human body often triggered by the sympathetic nervous system. 29 participants were randomly assigned to three groups and were monitored while performing a Stroop test, during which two of the test groups experienced distractions and the third group experienced no distraction. Heart rate, blood pressure, and galvanic skin response were recorded throughout the process. It was hypothesized that a measurable sympathetic response would occur in the group of participants who listened to a video soundclip of whispering while taking the Stroop test, and that a similar sympathetic response would occur in the group of participants who experienced vibrating cell phone notifications. The participants that did not experience any distractions were found to have lower final pulse pressures than either of the groups exposed to distractions during the test. Differences in heart rate throughout the duration of the experiment were found to be different between the group that experienced no distraction and the group that experienced cell phone vibrations, as well as between the group that experienced no distraction and the group that listened to a soundclip of whispering. Further experimentation is required to fully determine if there is a physiological relationship between anxiety due to cell phone distractions and cognitive flexibility. This study proposes a potential bridge between purely academic and physiological studies and can serve to direct further study of this increasingly prevalent issue of technology use in academic settings.
mean arterial pressure (MAP)
pulse pressure (PP)