The internet is literally changing the structure of our brains! Brain regions associated with attention, memory and social skills are being altered because of the use of networks.
A study published in the World Psychiatry and authored by researchers from the University of Oxford, Harvard University, Western Sydney University, Kings College and Manchester University, compiled information from different studies made so far about how digital life is altering our brains, especially in regions associated with attention, memory and social skills.
One study found that people who check their phones constantly expecting messages and other reports have reduced gray matter in certain areas of the prefrontal cortex that are associated with maintaining focus in the face of distractions.
As a consequence, these individuals performed poorly on tasks designed to measure attention. Excessive use of search engines also suggests that we may begin to rely too much on the internet as a source of information, damaging our own memory capacity.
That’s because one of the studies found that people tend to display a weaker memory of information found online than in an encyclopedia. Brain mapping showed that this effect was correlated with reduced activation of the central flow of the brain – a system for retrieving important memories.
The finding raises the possibility that internet learning may not be able to sufficiently activate the key brain regions necessary for long-term memory storage.
The “snooze” function of the cell phone is not good for your health, and social networks would also be responsible for this transformation in the organism.
One study found that the number of friends on Facebook is related to the volume of gray matter in the right entorhinal cortex, which was previously associated with the ability to associate names and faces. Researchers suggest that this effect may be caused by the fact that the social network encourages people to keep a large number of weak social connections, requiring a greater ability to relate names to faces.
Before the advent of social media, people tended to have deeper relationships with a smaller network of people and therefore required different adaptations in the social regions of the brain.