We’ve all tried this at some point.
We’ve decided that we want to watch TV. But then putting our phone down was a lot harder than we’ve initially thought, so we browse through our phones while watching TV at the same time.
And then we realize that we get a little confused trying to do two things at the same time.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen found that that confusion that we feel from watching TV and using our phones at the same time isn’t just any ordinary confusion.
It’s actually getting high, caused by a hormone.
According to the scientists, multitasking by watching TV and using your iPhone at the same time actually lowers your IQ because it’s like a training for your brain to be disorganized.
When you are focused on one task, the data that goes through your brain is stored on the hippocampus— the so-called “library of the brain” where the information is categorized, organized, and stored for your easy recollection.
But if you try to do two things at the same time— like watching TV while using your iPhone — the information that should have gone to your hippocampus goes to your brain’s striatum instead. Striatum is the place where your movements and motivations are planned— it wasn’t made to store information— so everything will be harder for you to recall later on. It forces your brain to store information on a place that wasn’t really made for storing information.
It’s like storing your clothes inside the microwave. It can be done, but the microwave wasn’t built for that, and there’s only so much it can take.
According to the scientists, switching between using your iPhone and watching TV causes your body to release a chemical called L-dopa, which is responsible for producing a hormone called dopamine.
Now dopamine in high levels is associated with drug abuse, and the scientists found that switching back and forth at least two of your gadgets on cognitive ability produces an effect even worse than being high on marijuana.
According to the researchers:
“Use of technology in our everyday lives is damaging the brain, causing it to rewire itself and lowering our IQ as a result… Our brains could, thanks to our reliance and overuse of technology, be heading for the scrap heap.”
The scientists hope that their findings would raise awareness on the dangers that using multiple gadgets simultaneously brings, as millions of people around the world are believed to have formed a habit of doing such.