The human brain is able to adapt to a number of changes, and it looks like working with touchscreen smartphones is one of those impressive feats, according to researchers. Specifically, touch users were found with a stronger somatosensory cortex - the region of the brain responsible for processing touch - than users of regular mobile phones.
"I was really surprised by the scale of the changes introduced by the use of smartphones," said Dr. Arko Ghosh, the study's author and researcher from the Institute of Neuroinformatics of the University of Zurich. People should be comforted by the fact that our daily lives are interesting to neuroscientists. We have always studied pianists or athletes and such, but smartphones are going to allow us to start linking our digital footprints to brain activity."
Researchers analyzed 10 days of daily use from 26 touch-based smartphone owners compared to 11 right-handed mobile phone users. Using an electroencephalogram (EEG) machine to track brain activity voltage, they stimulated each participant's thumbs, index and middle fingers 1,250 times. Smartphone users had higher cortical activity, and the thumb provided the highest overall response.
The report was published earlier in the week in "Current Biology."