“Can’t recall a friend’s phone number? Press the speed dial on your mobile. Don’t know the way to their house? Use a satnav. Modern technology has taken the strain off our brains with the answers to so many problems available at the click of a button,” John Naish reports for The Daily Mail. “But is there a dark side to all this convenience? Growing scientific evidence suggests a future where our brains may prematurely fail in later life through under-use, thanks to Mother Nature’s rule that we ‘use it or lose it.'”
“You might describe this new threat to our mental health as ‘e-mentia’ – memory-related problems, and even depression, linked to our overuse of new technology,” Naish reports. “Some of the most worrying evidence of the problems we may be storing up for later relate to navigation aids. Research published in April 2011 shows our growing use of satnavs stops us using the brain’s sophisticated capacity for mapping surroundings as we pass them and building those impressions into a mental picture. Dr Rosamund Langston, a lecturer in neuroscience at the University of Dundee who conducted the study, said that by using satnavs, we wither away our ‘caveman’ ability to familiarise ourselves with new surroundings by memorising snapshots of them.”
“In December, a study found that smartphones seem to have altered the shape and function of the human brain. Dr Arko Ghosh, a neuroscientist at Zurich University, has discovered that people who use touchscreen phones on a daily basis have a larger somatosensory cortex – the area of the brain which controls the thumbs,” Naish reports. “Other studies raise more worrying questions. In September, researchers at Sussex University reported that people who habitually watch more than one screen at a time, for example using a smartphone while sitting in front of television, show an increased risk of depression and emotional problems.”
Much more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Finally, an explanation for the deteriorating state of things on this rock.
Run for your life! Back to the forest! Run! — Elliott, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982