A new study has found that some individuals’ brains can have a unique waveform in response to smartphone texting. This “texting rhythm” is the collective result of things that happen during texting like eye focus, handling the device and message construction, among others.
It is rare to find someone who does not own a smartphone these days. However, it seems knowledge about its effects remains scarce. Thanks to this recent study, we now know that physiological changes actually take place.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic analyzed EEG results of the brain’s electrical activity from 129 patients during a 16-month period. They found that at least one in five individuals exhibited the unique rhythm, which they call “a novel technology-specific neurophysiological alteration of brain networks.”
“We think active text messaging actually creates an electrophysiologic potential that’s unique to some type of personal electronic device,” said Dr. William Tatum, lead author of the study. It must be pointed that this particular rhythm did not occur in activities such as movement, speech and voice calls, Medical Daily reported.
Tatum’s team concluded that the rhythm may have resulted from the increased concentration required in manipulating smaller handheld devices. The same pattern was observed among iPad users.
The research, published in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior, involved participants with and without epilepsy. The authors also hypothesized that the pattern may reflect some sort of a reward system, which is met when people check their smartphones or read interesting material online.
The researchers point that the unique rhythm is found to have no relation with epilepsy. In addition, no correlation with age, gender, MRI results and other factors has been found.
Further studies are encouraged, as the findings provide implications on the dangers of texting while driving. Daily Mail quotes Tatum as saying, “There is not a biological reason why people shouldn’t text and drive – texting can change brain waves… We have begun to unravel the responses generated by the brain when it interfaces with computerized devices.”
The recent study hence provides direction on more research focused on the effects of handheld technology in human cognition. Interdisciplinary studies will also be interesting to find out the relationship and effects of various forms of technology not only in mental processes, but emotion, behavior and social interaction as well.
Do you construct text messages carefully or spontaneously? Do your texts always reflect genuine emotions? Share your thoughts in the comments below!