Excessive Smartphone Usage Is Reshaping Our Brains
This might not come as a huge surprise, but researchers have confirmed that our intense mobile use has affected our brains - but don't worry, there's no proof here that it's for the worse. Both the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich believe that the way we interact with our mobile devices could prove extremely useful for research, since it can allow scientists to study how our brain effectively 'resculpts' itself on a large scale.
This kind of research isn't new, per se. Gamers have been studied, for example, to see how their brain reacts to all sorts of conditions, and if you're a gamer yourself (or a musician, as another example), you no doubt know that the brain is a very moldable thing. Things you learn can become second nature, much like me typing out this post without having to think about where each letter is located.
In conducted tests, brain activity was monitored across a number of people while they used either older-style phones or smartphones. Researchers found that smartphone users showed more electrical brain activity, and in particular, the level of activity in the cortex scaled with the amount of time someone spent with their device.
Further, if someone was to go a short period of time without using their mobile device, a greater amount of brain activity could be monitored. I'm not a scientist (is that a surprise?), but this sounds like something that corresponds with the fact that it's harder to fall asleep at night if you fiddle with your phone directly before trying to catch some Zs - your brain doesn't have much of a chance to settle down.
Nonetheless, this study doesn't tackle potential problems that could come from long-term mobile use, but it will give researchers lots of data to let them better understand exactly how it is that our brains are molded by our mobile use.