How smartphone addiction changes your BRAIN: Scans reveal how grey matter of tech addicts physically changes shape and size in a similar way to drug users
- German researchers examined the brains of 48 participants using MRI images
- Total of 22 people smartphone addicts and 26 non-addicts made up the cohort
- Researchers found diminished grey matter volume in key regions of the brain
- Similar phenomenon observed in people who suffer with substance addiction
A new study has found that smartphone addiction has the same effect on the brain as drug addiction — specifically lowering grey matter volume in certain areas of the brain. According to The Daily Mail, the shocking results were discovered after MRI images were taken of brains with smartphone addiction, known as SPA.
The images taken by the MRI found that smartphone addiction physically changes the shape and size of the brain, most particularly in regards to grey matter.
Grey matter in the brain is vital, as it contains a majority of neuronal cell bodies and includes the regions that are associated with muscle control, speech, and seeing and hearing. It also has a strong effect on one’s mental wellbeing, housing the areas that are in charge of emotion, memory, decision making, and self-control.
“This study provides first evidence for distinct structural and functional correlates of behavioral addiction in individuals meeting psychometric criteria for SPA,” the paper, published in Science Direct, notes.
The experiment, conducted at Heidelberg University in Germany, examined 48 participants, of which 22 suffered from smartphone addiction and 26 did not.
The results showed that a startlingly large number of areas in the brain were affected by smartphone use.
“Compared to controls, individuals with smartphone addiction showed lower grey matter volume in left anterior insula, inferior temporal and parahippocampal cortex,” the researchers claimed.
“A significant negative association was found between [smartphone use] and both [anterior cingulate cortex] volume and activity,” they continued.