Written by Andrei DUMBRAVĂ on . Posted in Special section: Volume XX, Nr 4


Andrei DUMBRAVĂ*,1,2

1 Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iaşi, Romania
2 G.I.M. Georgescu Institute of C-V Diseases, Iaşi, Romania


The behavioral impact of the intensive and widespread use of portable (mobile) telephones seems not yet to be appropriately explored. In an initial study, the performance on several (event-, time-, and activity-based) prospective memory tasks has been measured in two equivalent groups of 37 users and 31 non-users of the portable phone. The results revealed a significant reduction in all prospective memory performances in heavy users, as compared with never users. Two to five years later, some of the participants “changed sides”: 23 individuals in the original non-users group started to become users, meanwhile nine users “converted” to non-users. Their levels of performance on the prospective memory tasks seem to accompany the change in their habits, with a tendency toward the deficit initially noticed in the contrasting group of mobile users. Findings suggest the possibility that the availability of a memory prosthesis like the portable telephone may drastically prevent people from practicing their prospective memory abilities resulting in its probable reversible learned non-use deficit. The time lag for this potential reversibility needs further examination.

KEYWORDS: prospective memory, mobile phones and cognition, memory deficits.


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