College students hoping to start the spring semester off on the right foot ought to consider keeping their phones in their dorm rooms during class. A new study finds that students perform worse on final exams if they are allowed access to a smartphone or tablet for non-academic purposes during lectures, compared to students who don’t have access to mobile devices.
In fact, researchers from Rutgers University say students who didn’t use mobile devices during lectures where they were permitted phone use still performed worse than pupils in mobile-restricted lectures. The finding shows just how the mere presence or availability of phone can be detrimental.
For the study, the researchers performed an in-class experiment to quantify the detriment of dividing one’s attention between electronic devices and the instructor during class on college students’ performance on in-lecture tests and end-of-term exams.