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      Reach for your cell phone at your own risk: The cognitive costs of media choice for breaks

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          Abstract

          Introduction

          Since there is steady increase in cell phone addiction, the act of reaching for a phone between tasks, or even mid-task, is becoming more commonplace, without a true understanding about the potential cognitive costs of taking a break in this way as opposed to taking a break through another medium.

          Methods

          This experimental study included 414 participants who completed a cognitively demanding task (solving anagrams) either on paper or on a computer screen. Participants in three of four randomly assigned conditions engaged in a break task (selecting items for a hypothetical shopping list) either on a cell phone, a larger computer screen, or on a paper in the middle of the task. The fourth condition had participants engaging in both halves of the cognitive task with no break.

          Results

          The results show that using cell phone for a break did not allow brain to recharge as effectively as the other types of breaks, both in terms of being able to perform quickly and efficiently in the second half of the task (how long it took to complete), and in terms of performance (how many anagrams were successfully solved in the second half).

          Discussion and conclusions

          As people are increasingly addicted to their cell phones, it is important to know the unintended costs associated with reaching for this device every spare minute. Although people may assume that it is not different from any other kind of interaction or break, this study shows that the phone might be more cognitively taxing than expected.

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          Most cited references 39

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          The Time Famine: Toward a Sociology of Work Time

           Leslie Perlow (1999)
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            The invisible addiction: Cell-phone activities and addiction among male and female college students

            Background and aims: The primary objective of the present study was to investigate which cell-phone activities are associated with cell-phone addiction. No research to date has studied the full-range of cell-phone activities, and their relationship to cell-phone addiction, across male and female cell-phone users. Methods: College undergraduates (N = 164) participated in an online survey. Participants completed the questionnaire as part of their class requirements. The questionnaire took 10 and 15 minutes to complete and contained a measure of cell-phone addiction and questions that asked how much time participants spent daily on 24 cell-phone activities. Results: Findings revealed cell-phone activities that are associated significantly with cell-phone addiction (e.g., Instagram, Pinterest), as well as activities that one might logically assume would be associated with this form of addiction but are not (e.g., Internet use and Gaming). Cell-phone activities that drive cell-phone addiction (CPA) were found to vary considerably across male and female cell-phone users. Although a strong social component drove CPA for both males and females, the specific activities associated with CPA differed markedly. Conclusions: CPA amongst the total sample is largely driven by a desire to connect socially. The activities found to be associated with CPA, however, differed across the sexes. As the functionality of cell-phones continues to expand, addiction to this seemingly indispensable piece of technology becomes an increasingly realistic possibility. Future research must identify the activities that push cell-phone use beyond its “;tipping point” where it crosses the line from a helpful tool to one that undermines our personal well-being and that of others.
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              Making the Break Count: An Episodic Examination of Recovery Activities, Emotional Experiences, and Positive Affective Displays

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Behav Addict
                J Behav Addict
                jba
                JBA
                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                2062-5871
                2063-5303
                16 August 2019
                September 2019
                : 8
                : 3
                : 395-403
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Rutgers Business School, Rutgers University , Piscataway, NJ, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Terri R. Kurtzberg; Rutgers Business School, Rutgers University, 100 Rockafeller Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA; Phone: +1 848 445 4458; Fax: +1 732 445 6987; E-mail: tk@ 123456business.rutgers.edu
                Article
                10.1556/2006.8.2019.21
                7044622
                31418586
                © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 6, Equations: 0, References: 37, Pages: 9
                Product
                Funding
                Funding sources: None.
                Categories
                Full-Length Report

                cell phone addiction, cognitive resources, breaks

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