Mobile phone use facilitates memory in male, but not female, subjects

  • Smythe J
  • Costall B
  • 7

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Abstract

In the present study we report on the effects of mobile phone exposure on short- and long-term memory in male and female subjects. Subjects were university undergraduate students, and consisted of right-handed, males (n = 33) and females (n = 29). Individuals were randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions: no phone exposure; inactive phone exposure; and active phone exposure. They were provided with a series of words to learn, structured in a two-dimensional shape, and given 3 min to memorise the words. After a 12 min distraction task, they were then asked to draw the shape (spatial) and place the correct words (semantic) into the appropriate boxes. One week later the same subjects were brought back to again redraw the shape and words. Error scores were determined and analysed by non-parametric techniques. The results show that males exposed to an active phone made fewer spatial errors than those exposed to an active phone condition, while females were largely unaffected. These results further indicate that mobile phone exposure has functional consequences for human subjects, and these effects appear to be sex-dependent.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cellular Phone/statistics & numerical data/*utiliz
  • Comparative Study
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory/*physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Sex Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric

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Authors

  • J W Smythe

  • B Costall

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