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Brain health consequences of digital technology use

Authors
  • Bookheimer, Susan Y.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience
Publisher
Les Laboratoires Servier
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2020
Volume
22
Issue
2
Pages
179–187
Identifiers
DOI: 10.31887/DCNS.2020.22.2/gsmall
PMID: 32699518
PMCID: PMC7366948
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Emerging scientific evidence indicates that frequent digital technology use has a significant impact—both negative and positive—on brain function and behavior. Potential harmful effects of extensive screen time and technology use include heightened attention-deficit symptoms, impaired emotional and social intelligence, technology addiction, social isolation, impaired brain development, and disrupted sleep. However, various apps, videogames, and other online tools may benefit brain health. Functional imaging scans show that internet-naive older adults who learn to search online show significant increases in brain neural activity during simulated internet searches. Certain computer programs and videogames may improve memory, multitasking skills, fluid intelligence, and other cognitive abilities. Some apps and digital tools offer mental health interventions providing self-management, monitoring, skills training, and other interventions that may improve mood and behavior. Additional research on the positive and negative brain health effects of technology is needed to elucidate mechanisms and underlying causal relationships.

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