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Less intelligent people use smartphones more, study says

If you don't know who the fifth president of the Republic of Slovenia was, and you're looking it up on Google right now, I have bad news for you.

Researchers from Waterloo University in Canada (opens in new tab) say that there is a link between heavy smartphone use and lower intelligence.

If you don’t understand the sentence above, the point is – they claim people who use smartphones more are basically stupid.

Oh yeah, also, the Republic of Slovenia has only had four presidents.

The research, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, suggests smartphone users who are intuitive thinkers - those people who rely on gut feelings when making decisions - frequently use their device’s search engine rather than their own brainpower, says Waterloo.

“They may look up information that they actually know or could easily learn, but are unwilling to make the effort to actually think about it,” said Gordon Pennycook, co-lead author of the study, and a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at Waterloo.

The research included 660 participants and examined areas such as cognitive style, verbal and numerical skill. Then they cross-examined the participants' smartphone habits.

Pennycook also stressed out that it’s not the smartphone’s that are making us stupid – we already were. It’s just that we can notice the dumb ones by how much they use their smartphones.

“Whether smartphones actually decrease intelligence is still an open question that requires future research,” he said.

The researchers say that avoiding using our minds to problem-solve might have adverse consequences for aging.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.