By Michael Roizen, MD, and Mehmet Oz, MD

Around 1880, Alexander Graham Bell prophesized, “One day there will be a telephone in every major city in the USA.” About 60 years later, Thomas Watson, chairman and CEO of IBM, went out on a limb saying, “I think there is a world market for as many as five computers.” Today, we’re looking at an entire generation who don’t know what life is like without a smartphone that puts a computer and communication device in your pocket. OMG!

Does this technology make you sharper or dumb you down? Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, say it depends on how you think. They postulate that folks who rely on intuition to make decisions (“I just feel like this is the right answer”) are more prone to google (added as a verb to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006) for answers, and accept what they get, than to think out things for themselves. Analytical thinkers are the opposite. They second guess their own feelings (“I need to check that out”) and analyze problems using logic instead of relying on intuition.  

Bottom line? Intuitive thinkers may use their smartphones to outsource their thinking. Analytical thinkers use smartphones to sharpen their cognitive abilities and solve problems. So next time you use your smartphone to get instant info, stop, question what you found. Ask yourself what you think about the subject. Look further. Talk to someone else about it. Smartphones are only as smart as the people using them. Show yours who’s the boss!