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Acta Psychologica



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The present study was a pre-registered direct replication of Ward et al.'s (2017) second experiment (OSF pre-registration found at: This replication assigned both smartphone location (on desk, in pocket/bag, or outside of the testing room) and smartphone power (on, or off) for a total of six conditions. Participants completed an automated operation span (OSpan) task, a Cue-Dependent Go/No-Go task, and the smartphone attachment and dependency inventory. It was hypothesized that performance on an attention-demanding task (i.e., the OSpan task) would be worse for those in closer proximity to their smartphone (on desk) and that those with greater smartphone attachment and dependency would have a larger “brain drain” effect. Using the same tasks and conditions as in Ward et al.'s (2017) second experiment, the present study found that the “brain drain” effect did not replicate: there was no difference between smartphone location conditions on performance on either the o-span task or the go/no-go task. These findings demonstrate that the mere presence of one's smartphone may not be enough to affect cognitive performance. Understanding these effects is crucial in a time where smartphones are a basic necessity.