It is no secret that smartphones have changed the way the world works, but did you know they also change the way your brain thinks? Researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich have found the human brain is constantly being transformed because of digital technology, according to a study published in Current Biology.
The human brain adapts to its surroundings on a regular basis as a means of survival. Since smartphones are now associated with a direct source of information, scientists wanted to see how they impacted a person’s brain activity in relation to the fingers used to manipulate a smartphone screen.
The researchers assessed the electrical activity in the brains of smartphone users, and found enhanced activity when the participants’ thumb, forefinger and middle finger were touched. The amount of activity in the brain was proportional to the amount of time a person spends on a smartphone.
The repetitive motions our fingers go through while using smartphones is changing the sensory processes in our hands. Our brains must reorganize themselves to these new processes in order to make room for the enhanced activity. The scientists did not say what the long-term effects of this may be, but their work does show just how significant smartphones are to human life.
“What this means for us neuroscientists is that the digital history we carry in our pockets has an enormous amount of information on how we use our fingertips (and more),” said Arko Ghosh, one of the authors for the study, in a statement.