According to a new study carried out by researchers from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich in Switzerland, the more a person uses a smartphone touchscreen, the more the brain activity associated with the thumb tip surges, whether or not that thumb was using a touchscreen or not. According to CBC News, the study specifically analyzed whether smartphone touchscreens have an effect on the brain in terms of the fingers, though similar studies have focused on video gamers and motor skills in the past.
Arko Ghosh of the University of Zurich said that he was really surprised by the scale of the changes introduced by the use of smartphones. The study, which has been published in Current Biology, examines the everyday plasticity or adaptability of the human brain in relation to fingertip use. “I think first we must appreciate how common personal digital devices are and how densely people use them,” Ghosh said.
“Researchers discovered that smartphone users’ brain activity in the cortex – the part associated with thumb and index fingertips – was directly proportional to the intensity of phone use. They then compared that to the phone’s battery logs to see how much that person had been using their smartphone or cellphone.
The more a person used their phone, the more the brain activity associated with the thumb tip surged, whether or not that thumb was using a touchscreen or not.”
The study concluded that personal digital technology is continuously shaping the sensory processing in the contemporary brain.