Multitasking with mobile phones, laptops may trigger emotional problems

Multitasking with mobile phones, laptops may trigger emotional problems

Many technology-savvy individuals engage in multitasking with mobile phones, laptops, TV, and tablets. Researchers at the University of Sussex have found that this may cause brain damage and trigger depression and emotional problems as well. This damage is caused due to 'second screening'.

The researchers found that there is an area of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). This part is much smaller in people who used more electronic devices simultaneously. The ACC is the part of the brain that controls emotions and is involved in decision making, reasoning, impulse control and empathy.

It has been found that nearly two thirds of teenagers in Britain use a second screen while watching TV. The researchers found that all such teenagers will have smaller ACCs and may be predisposed to use more media devices. They claim that it is 'equally plausible' as too much technology is directly damaging the brain.

Kep kee Loh, a neuroscientist, said, "Media multitasking is becoming more prevalent in our lives today and there is increasing concern about its impacts on our cognition and social-emotional well-being. Our study was the first to reveal links between media multitasking and brain structure".

Loh added that it is important to create awareness as the way people are interacting with the devices might be altering the way they think and these changes might be occurring at the level of brain structure.

For this research, the team at the University of Sussex's Sackler Centre for Consciousness scanned the brains of 75 volunteers. Besides, they also questioned them about their use of mobile phones, computers as well as television and print media. The researchers largely found that the volunteers who used higher number of media devices had smaller grey matter density in the ACC.

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