LG G3 Smartphones On Display
LG G3 smartphones are seen on display during the IFA Electronics show in Berlin September 4, 2014. Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke

There may be some credence to the theory of smartphones being smarter than their users. A recent study suggests that smartphones, especially those that are touchscreen-enabled, may be reshaping the human brain. Scientists now believe that smartphone users may be experiencing increased brain activity when using their touchscreen phones.

The study revealed regular use of smartphones through touchscreen facilities reprogram the way the brain processes information. In addition, the use of thumbs and other fingertips while handling smartphones also affects the way the brain perceives the functionality of fingers. This study explores the flexible nature of your cognition and perception and the plasticity of the human brain.

Arko Ghosh of the University of Zurich conducted the study, along with his colleagues, on observing brain activity among smartphone users. Speaking about the surprising results of the study, Ghosh said, "I was really surprised by the scale of the changes introduced by the use of smartphones. I was also struck by how much of the inter-individual variations in the fingertip associated brain signals could be simply explained by evaluating the smartphone logs."

The study explores the concept of how everyday activities can also reshape the brain into perceiving and performing new activities. The study involved using digital brain imaging technologies like an EEG (electroencephalography). An EEG was used to observe and record the responses of the brain when using mechanical touch on the thumb or fingertips of regular smartphone users, in comparison with people still using old model cell phones.

The results of the study suggest that, regular and repetitive actions can reprogram the brain such that the functionality of sensory activities undergoes a marked change within the brain. Ghosh explained, "We propose that cortical sensory processing in the contemporary brain is continuously shaped by personal digital technology." This study is perhaps one of the first of its kind in exploring the plasticity of the brain and how regular and repetitive activities may actually change the way the human brain works.