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Smart Technology Is Not Making Humans Stupid: Study 

A research paper suggests that there is no connection between smart tech and biological cognitive abilities.

WASHINGTON — A new study by researchers states that there is no scientific evidence to show that digital technology harms cognitive abilities, despite popular perception to the contrary.

The study states that new-age technology might catalyze in changing human cognition but doesn’t necessarily harm it. 

The research from the University of Cincinnati titled ‘Technology may change cognition without necessarily harming it’ was co-authored by Lorenzo Cecutti, Anthony Chemero, and Spike W. S. Lee and was published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.

“Despite the headlines, there is no scientific evidence that shows that smartphones and digital technology harm our biological, cognitive abilities,” said Anthony Chemero, Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Cincinnati

In the paper, Chemero and his colleagues at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management expound on the evolution of the digital age, explaining how smart technology supplements thinking, helping humans to excel.

“Short paper with Lorenzo Cecutti and Spike W.S. Lee of the University of Toronto (but not Twitter) out today in Nature Human Behavior. The title tells the story,” Chemero tweeted.

“What smartphones and digital technology seem to do instead is to change the ways in which we engage our biological, cognitive abilities,” Chemero said. “These changes are actually cognitively beneficial.”

For example, he says, your smartphone knows the way to the baseball stadium so that you don’t have to dig out a map or ask for directions, which frees up brain energy to think about something else. The same holds true in a professional setting, Chemero said.

“We’re not solving complex mathematical problems with pen and paper or memorizing phone numbers in 2021.”

Computers, tablets, and smartphones, function as an auxiliary, serving as tools that are good at memorization, calculation, and storing information, and presenting information when you need it, he added.

“Additionally, smart technology augments decision-making skills that we would be hard-pressed to accomplish on our own,” said the paper’s lead author Lorenzo Cecutti, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto. 

“Using GPS technology on our phones can not only help us get there but lets us choose a route based on traffic conditions. That would be a challenging task when driving round in a new city,” Cecutti said.

“You put all this technology together with a naked human brain, and you get something that’s smarter…and the result is that we, supplemented by our technology, are actually capable of accomplishing much more complex tasks than we could with our un-supplemented biological abilities,” said Chemero. 

“While there may be other consequences of smart technology, making us stupid is not one of them.”

(With inputs from ANI)

(Edited by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Praveen Pramod Tewari)

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