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Neuronal control of the fingertips is socially configured in touchscreen smartphone users


Ghosh, Arko; Balerna, Myriam (2016). Neuronal control of the fingertips is socially configured in touchscreen smartphone users. bioRxiv 064485, Institute of Neuroinformatics.

Abstract

As a common neuroscientific observation, the more a body part is used, the less variable the corresponding computations become. We here report a more complicated scenario concerning the fingertips of smartphone users. We sorted 21-days histories of touchscreen use of 57 volunteers into social and non-social categories. Sensorimotor variability was measured in a laboratory setting by simple button depressions and scalp electrodes (electroencephalogram, EEG). The ms range trial-to-trial variability in button depression was directly proportional to the number of social touches and inversely proportional to non-social touches. Variability of the early tactile somatosensory potentials was also proportional to the number of social touches, but not to non-social touches. The number of Apps and the speed of touchscreen use also reflected this variability. We conclude that smartphone use affects elementary computations even in tasks not involving a phone and suggest that social activities uniquely reconfigure the thumb to touchscreen use.

Abstract

As a common neuroscientific observation, the more a body part is used, the less variable the corresponding computations become. We here report a more complicated scenario concerning the fingertips of smartphone users. We sorted 21-days histories of touchscreen use of 57 volunteers into social and non-social categories. Sensorimotor variability was measured in a laboratory setting by simple button depressions and scalp electrodes (electroencephalogram, EEG). The ms range trial-to-trial variability in button depression was directly proportional to the number of social touches and inversely proportional to non-social touches. Variability of the early tactile somatosensory potentials was also proportional to the number of social touches, but not to non-social touches. The number of Apps and the speed of touchscreen use also reflected this variability. We conclude that smartphone use affects elementary computations even in tasks not involving a phone and suggest that social activities uniquely reconfigure the thumb to touchscreen use.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Neuroinformatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:26 Jan 2017 11:45
Last Modified:29 Aug 2017 22:24
Series Name:bioRxiv
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1101/064485
Official URL:http://biorxiv.org/content/biorxiv/early/2016/07/18/064485.full.pdf

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