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Brain Drain

The Journal of Consumer Research, The University of Chicago Press, April 3, 2017
Adrian F. Ward, Kristen Duke, Ayelet Gneezy, and Maarten W. Bos,

Brain drain hypothesis

Our smartphones enable—and encourage—constant connection to information, entertainment, and each other. They put the world at our fingertips, and rarely leave our sides. Although these devices have immense potential to improve welfare, their persistent presence may come at a cognitive cost. In this research, we test the “brain drain” hypothesis that the mere presence of one’s own smartphone may occupy limited-capacity cognitive resources, thereby leaving fewer resources available for other tasks and undercutting cognitive performance

Through the WI Lens

“This article is 3 months old, but attracting increasing attention among experts, commentators and journalists. The “brain drain hypothesis” essentially argues that our smartphones enable constant connection and in so doing improve social welfare, but that their persistent presence comes at a cognitive cost. It shows that the mere presence of one’s own smartphone may deplete our limited cognitive resources, that is: leaving fewer resources for other tasks and also undercutting cognitive performance.

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