Sending a text message using your smartphone or iPad changes the rhythm of a person’s brain waves and creates a one-of-a-kind “texting rhythm” scientists have never seen before. A new study carried out by a team of researchers from Mayo Clinic says their findings have implications for brain-computer interfacing, driving and gaming.
In the study, researchers examined and tracked the brain waves of 129 patients with and without epilepsy for 16 months using video footage and electroencephalograms (EEGs). They were asked to do a variety of activities including audio phone use, finger tapping and text messaging. In addition, participants were subjected to tests of attention and cognitive function.
Based on their findings, 1 out of 5 patients using their phone to text exhibited texting rhythm. It was also discovered that only text messaging yielded the unique brain rhythm.
Study lead Dr. William Tatum told The Daily Mail UK: “We believe this new rhythm is an objective metric of the brain’s ability to process non-verbal information during use of electronic devices and that it is heavily connected to a widely distributed network augmented by attention or emotion.”
Researchers believe small screen size may play an important role in their findings.
Moreover, Dr. Tatum said the results of their study shed more light on the dangers of texting while driving.
“There is not a biological reason why people shouldn’t text and drive- texting can change brain waves,” Dr. Tatum explained.
The Dangers of Texting While Driving
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, texting while driving is especially dangerous because it distracts you in three ways: visual, manual and cognitive. Doing such activity takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off the driving.