Smartphones change brain circuitry, says expert

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Thursday, May 17, 2018
Smartphones change brain circuitry, says expert
Smartphones change brain circuitry, says expert. Registered nurse Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on May 17, 2018.

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WPVI) -- Many of us have a love-hate relationship with our smart phones.

They keep us connected but they also continue to interrrupt us.

And psychologists say it can make you a lot less productive.

When we SWITCH from one task to pick up a call or read a text or email, it interrupts our thinking.

Then you have to re-orient yourself.

And that can affect our brain's efficiency by about 40-percent.

The technology has also put our brains on high alert, almost waiting for the next interruption.

Many people get a little surge of the stress hormone when their phone goes off, or when they can't get to it.

When we can check it, that gives our brain the feeling of a reward, so the cycle continues.

If you want to break it, it takes discipline.

"Initially when you start trying to stay away from technology or confine it youll be a little uncomfortable, you'll have that fear of missing out or a little anxiety that somethings getting past you, but with practice your brain can get used to it," says Scott Bea, Psy.D., a psychologist with the Cleveland Clinic.

And he says it's especially important to dis-connect from your work phone when you are off the clock.

This allows our brains to distinguish between work and home, and that can help lower our stress level overall.