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Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

iPhone Separation Anxiety Makes You Dumber, Study Finds

Jan 11, 2015

Ever feel anxious when you're not around your iPhone at school or at work? That separation anxiety might be impacting your cognitive abilities, a recent study found.

Researchers discovered that iPhone users solving a series of puzzles performed better when they had their iPhones with them, according to a Thursday statement by the University of Missouri. When deprived of their iPhones, the study's participants experienced significant physical changes — elevated heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety — alongside poorer cognitive performance.

There's very little research on the effects of cell phone separation, according to the study, which was published in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. But the researchers' recommendation isn't to kick your cell-phone checking habit — instead, they suggest iPhone lovers should avoid separating themselves from their phones if they're taking tests, attending meetings or during other activities that require a great deal of attention.

"The results from our study suggest that iPhones are capable of becoming an extension of our selves such that when separated, we experience a lessening of ‘self’ and a negative physiological state,” Russell Clayton, the study's lead author, said in the statement.

People pass time as they wait outside an Apple store for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in London on Sept. 17, 2014.
VIEW GALLERY | 13 PHOTOS
People pass time as they wait outside an Apple store for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in London on Sept. 17, 2014.Lefteris Pitarakis—AP
People pass time as they wait outside an Apple store for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in London on Sept. 17, 2014.
People wait for the release of Apple's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in front of the Apple Store in Tokyo on Sept. 18, 2014.
A man sleeps in a tent in the queue outside an Apple store in London on Sept. 18, 2014.
A man wearing a replica of an iPhone 6 Plus model on his head yawns while waiting in front of the Apple Store in Tokyo on Sept. 19, 2014.
A woman sleeps in a chair as she waits in queue outside the Apple store in London on Sept. 18, 2014.
A staff member removes a display poster of iPhone 5S at the Apple store in Tokyo on Sept. 18, 2014,.
Customers queue outside an Apple store in Hong Kong on Sept. 19, 2014.
Ken Miyauchi Vice President of Softbank, Japanese mobile phone company and actress Sayaka Kanda, in a pink dress, react during a ceremony to mark the first day of sales of the latest iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at a store in Tokyo on Sept. 19, 2014.
Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus go on sale in USA
Apple store staff high five customers as they enter the store in Tokyo on Sept. 19, 2014.
A man wearingaA man wearing a mask depicting Apple's co-founder Steve Jobs holds up a cardboard cut-out of Apple's new iPhone 6, as he walks into the Apple Store in Tokyo on Sept. 18, 2014. a mask depicting Steve Jobs holds up a cardboard cut-out of Apple's new iPhone 6, as he walks into the Apple Store in Tokyo
Andreas Gibson celebrates as he exits the Apple store after being the first to purchase an iPhone 6 Plus on Sept. 19, 2014 in New York.
Jamael Ahmed jumps in the air as he leaves the store after being the first to purchase the iPhone 6 at Apple Covent Gardens in London on Sept. 19, 2014.
People pass time as they wait outside an Apple store for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in London on Sept. 17, 2014.
Lefteris Pitarakis—AP
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