Sending text messages, consulting websites and accessing the e-mail on mobile phones are activities that have the potential to affect the interaction between the brain and thumb, according to a study by researchers in Switzerland.
Arko Ghosh, professor at the University of Zurich and EHT Zurich, has coordinated this study that focused on the use of electroencephalography to measure the activity of the cerebral cortex in case of 37 right-handed people. Of these, 26 were using smart phones with touch screen and 11 were using conventional mobile phones.
A total of 62 electrodes were placed in a bonnet worn by volunteers during electroencephalography to record the way their brains process the sensation of being touched transmitted by the sensory receptors of the thumb, the forefinger and the middle finger. Their cerebral activities were then compared with individual orders recorded in the history of each phone used in this study.
The electrical activity in the brain was stimulated when all the three fingers were used to touch the touch screens. According to the researcher Magali Chytiris, the activity of the cerebral cortex associated with your thumb and the index finger was directly proportional to the intensity of the use of the phone, based on the energy usage reports stored in the phone’s battery.
Professor Arko Ghosh says that the results of the study suggest the fact that repetitive movements performed on the touch screens of the smartphones, remodel the sensory processes of the hand, through daily updates of how the fingertips are represented in the brain. The Swiss researcher believes that the sensation processing in the cerebral cortex of the contemporary human brain is continuously modeled by the personalized digital technology.
Arko Ghosh also says that using smartphones represents an ideal way of exploring the “malleability” of the human brain.
The study of the Swiss researches was published in the Current Biology journal.