30 June 2016
If you’ve ever thought the advent of technologies like the internet is doing more harm than good to humans, your thought is now supported by evidence from neuroscience: a unique pattern of neural oscillations — better known as ‘brain waves’.
A new research conducted by a team of researchers led by neurologist Professor William Tatum at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida has shown that a unique pattern of neural oscillations (brain waves) appears when people are text messaging.
In other words, the new study posits that sending a text message change the rhythm of a person’s brain waves to a unique rhythm that’s never been seen before.
The new study that was published in the journal, Epilepsy & Behaviour examined brain waves in electroencephalography (EEG) readings from 129 patients over a period of 16 months.
It involved asking people to carry out a variety of sensory-motor and cognitive tasks associated with communication.
The researchers recorded EEGs as patients wrote text messages or performed finger and thumb movements without a smartphone.
The patients were also monitored while making telephone calls and doing activities that require concentration, such as mental calculations and speech or language tasks.
Of all the activities, only text messaging resulted in a new brain wave: the unique ‘texting rhythm’ was detected in 27 people (21%).
The researchers say this could be attributed to the small screens, which require more concentration, and argue that these findings provide a ‘biological reason’ for why people shouldn’t text behind the wheel.
According to Professor William Tatum, the texting rhythm reflects the brain activity needed to process non-verbal information, which is connected to neural networks that are boosted by attention and emotion.