Looking up answers on your phone linked to lazy thinking, researchers find
Published Thursday, March 19, 2015 6:06PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 19, 2015 6:39PM EDT
Are you a lazy thinker?
It might help if you knew what that means.
According to University of Waterloo researcher Gordon Pennycook, a lazy thinker is someone unlikely to reason out a solution to a problem.
“They rely more on their gut feelings and intuitions,” he says.
Asking people how they make decisions isn’t the only way to spot a lazy thinker.
Pennycook and fellow researcher Nathaniel Barr have found a link between those gut-instinct types and people who look up information on the search engine in their smartphone.
“We can indirectly make the guess that what they’re doing is probably looking up information that they’ve been exposed to before,” Barr says.
From their research, it’s not clear if one behaviour causes the other.
It’s also not clear if it’s a new phenomenon.
As Barr notes, people often used encyclopedias or each other to answer questions in the pre-smartphone age.
But the smartphone has taken that behaviour to a whole new level of ease and accessibility.
“It’s kind of like having a brain in your pocket,” Pennycook says.
To get their findings, Pennycook and Barr surveyed hundreds of people on their smartphone use, then asked them questions designed to pit their analytics reasoning against their intuitive reasoning.