Article

Putting a Negative Spin on it: Using Fidget‐spinners Can Impair Memory for a Video Lecture

Article

Putting a Negative Spin on it: Using Fidget‐spinners Can Impair Memory for a Video Lecture

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Abstract

Fidget‐spinners have experienced a rapid rise in popularity, at least partially because they are marketed as attentional aides with the potential to enhance student learning. In the current study, college‐aged students watched educational videos while either using a fidget‐spinner or not. Using a fidget‐spinner was associated with increased reports of attentional lapses, diminished judgments of learning, and impaired performance on a memory test for the material covered in the video. The adverse effect on learning was observed regardless of whether the use of fidget‐spinners was manipulated between‐subjects (Experiment 1) or within‐subjects (Experiment 2), and was observed even when the sample and analysis were limited to participants who came into the study with neutral or positive views on the use of fidget‐spinners. These results suggest that if fidget‐spinners are beneficial for learning, such benefits are relatively limited or at least do not extend to the conditions present in the current study.

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... Teachers have used stress balls in the past to engage students in activities that help them change their behavior (Cheng & Boggett-Carsjens, 2005;Kercood et al., 2007;Stalvey & Brasell, 2006). Several articles supporting the use of fidget devices use a cognitive or sensory lens to interpret their findings (e.g., Kercood et al., 2007;Soares & Storm, 2020;Soria-Claros et al., 2016). From a behavioral perspective, fidgets may function as an abolishing operation that decreases the reinforcing power of more overt, disruptive movements (Murphy et al., 2003). ...
... Importantly, Graziano et al. (2020) concluded that the use of fidget spinners may have decreased some of the more disruptive behaviors, but they did not improve student attention. An additional study involving college students found that the use of a fidget spinner impaired memory performance using both between-subject and within-subject designs (Soares & Storm, 2020). In a study investigating fidget spinners in a third-grade general education classroom, students demonstrated significantly lower levels of academic performance on a math curriculum-based measure (Hulac et al., 2020). ...
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Using fidget toys is one way to allow students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to move while completing academic assignments in the classroom. This study investigated the effect of fidget spinners on the on-task behavior of three second-grade students with ADHD. Before beginning treatment, the rules of use were briefly explained and demonstrated to students by the researchers; students were then provided with fidget spinners during treatment sessions in language arts class. A multiple-baseline design across students was used to determine whether each student had higher levels of on-task behavior when using the fidget spinner. Momentary time sampling was used to record on-task behavior; visual analysis of time-series graphs showed large immediate and sustained increases in on-task behavior during fidget spinner use. Implications for implementing a fidget spinner intervention and suggestions for future research are discussed.
... One such study investigating the effects of fidget spinner use on young children with ADHD in a classroom setting suggests that use can lead to more attentional distractions for the child using it, however, they found them to have no negative effect on others' attentional functioning in the classroom [22]. Two other studies have found potential negative effects of using fidget spinners on memory processes [23] [24]. On the other hand, supporters of the device argue that the act of spinning helps them to concentrate better and focus for longer on their work [21]. ...
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... In a 2017 review article [15], the authors found no evidence to support the purported benefits of fidget spinners. Since this 2017 review, there have been at least three studies on the effects of fidget spinners on attention [16][17][18] in which they found either no effect or a negative effect of fidget spinners on attention. There was also a single study on fine motor control [19] for which the authors concluded that fidget spinners may improve fine motor control in the short term. ...
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Dual-task studies assessed the effects of cellular-phone conversations on performance of a simulated driving task. Performance was not disrupted by listening to radio broadcasts or listening to a book on tape. Nor was it disrupted by a continuous shadowing task using a handheld phone, ruling out, in this case, dual-task interpretations associated with holding the phone, listening, or speaking, However significant interference was observed in a word-generation variant of the shadowing task, and this deficit increased with the difficulty of driving. Moreover unconstrained conversations using either a handheld or a hands-free cell phone resulted in a twofold increase in the failure to detect simulated traffic signals and slower reactions to those signals that were detected. We suggest that cellular-phone use disrupts performance by diverting attention to an engaging cognitive context other than the one immediately associated with driving.
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An examination of previous claims for virtually perfect time-sharing in dual-task situations reveals confounding effects that may have obscured dual-task interference. Two experiments are conducted in which these confounding effects are minimized, revealing statistically significant dual-task interference. These results support the hypothesis that human information processing is dominated by a structural central capacity limitation and call into question the hypothesis that dual-task interference can be eliminated by meeting the 5 conditions outlined by D. Meyer and D. Kieras (1999).
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This article reports three experiments whose results confirm the latter possibilities. We reach several related conclusions: (a) After only moderate practice, people can achieve virtually perfect time sharing between two basic choice reaction tasks; (b) when required, conservative executive control may postpone one such task while another is under way, yielding dual-task interference despite the potential for virtually perfect time sharing; and (c) personal preferences for cautious rather than daring task scheduling underlie individual differences in dual-task interference. Our experiments significantly extend previous reports of virtually perfect time sharing (e.g., Allport, Antonis, & Reynolds, 1972; Greenwald & Shulman, 1973; Shaffer, 1975), which have been discounted because they allegedly involved methodological artifacts (cf. McCann & Johnston, 1992; Pashler, 1994; Van Selst, Ruthruff, & Johnston, 1999)
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