Is smartphone necessarily a bane?

Posted on February 27, 2015

Photo: flickr

Should we be worried by the excessive usage of smartphones today? We see parents using ipads as a form of entertainment for their kids, teenagers constantly typing off their smartphones, adults scrolling through feeds and feeds of social media. Is it a marvel of technology or a bane to us? Well, scientists have discovered some benefits that the smartphones can bring about to our brains.

In short, these are the advantages:
• Re-organise Brain Structure
• Similar Neural Plasticity as Piano Player
• Repetitive Tasks and Finger Movements Can Stimulate the Brain

Smartphone Usage Can Reorganize Brain Structure
With regards to a relatively new study that was published this year, frequent smartphone users have shown increased activity in the cortical area of their brains, to respond to their sensory neurons from their thumb, index and middle fingers.
When frequent smartphone users were compared to individuals who were using older makes of phones, results showed that smartphone users have more sensitive fingers than non-smartphone users. This increased in cortical activity for those using smartphones is also proportional to phone usage.
As we know from the above, there is increase in cortical activity in the brain from using smartphones. But it is found that there is no evidence that supports the theory that cortical activity is related to the duration that the subject has been using smartphones for. The brain reflects small changes just after weeks of using smartphones alone.
Therefore, scientists believe that the brain is able to reshape and rewire itself through influence of daily activities, which in this case is the use of of personal digital gadgets.
According to a new study published this year, regular and heavy smartphone users exhibit increased activity in the cortical area of their brains in response to touch on their thumb, index, and middle fingers. Incidentally, the thumb and the index finger are those used most by smartphone users.

For a more in depth analysis of the link between the changes sensorimotor and change in brain plasticity, please refer to the original article.

Even though the research above have found that usage of smartphones could increase cortical activities, there is still lack in evidence that there is a relationship between using smartphone and getting good grades. Thus, don’t forsake your social life in favour of your beloved smartphone!


Source material from Brain Blogger