As Phones Get Smarter, Are They Making Us Less Reliant On Our Own Brains?

SHERMAN OAKS (CBSLA.com) — With a 10-month-old, a full-time job, staying fit and everything else left to fit in every day, Ryan Jordan’s electronics aren’t just luxuries; they’re often lifelines.

“By 7:30 a.m., I have 15 to 16 reminders that come in, ‘ding-ding-ding,‘ of everything that’s set for the day” says the Sherman Oaks mom, who admits technology is often an extension of her brain.

“I used to be able to spit off directions, spit off phone numbers. I had a photographic memory. But now when I plug something in, then I don’t remember it,” said Jordan. “It’s short-term memory.”

Of course, Jordan isn’t the only one who’s digitally dependent: most people say they don’t feel so smart without their smartphone.

With the amount of information we already store in our devices – from login IDs to passwords to birthdays, anniversaries and other numbers – some say our smartphones have become crutches.

Fawaz Faisal, a neurologist in Burbank, says when we learn something new, we’re not taking the time to process it. So essentially, the info goes in and often goes right back out.

“The neurons are not firing sufficiently to build those new circuits that will allow those memories or those numbers or names to actually be encoded in our brain,” Faisal explained.

But why memorize when everything is just a click away right in our pocket?

“Relying on our peripheral memories completely, ours brains will get lazy,” said Faisal. “We’re not able to retrieve that information when we need it.”

Faisal advises connected consumers to give their devices a rest and put in more brain time.

“(It) could be as simple as meditation or yoga just to just relax and allow that brain to absorb the information,” he said.

Even for bedtime, Jordan may use technology to monitor her baby, but one thing she never forgets? Taking time to detach from her digital day.

More from Suzie Suh
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