Internet Use Good For Brain Circuitry, As Well As For The WWW
Internet use 'good for the brain'
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Lead researcher Professor Gary Small said: "The study results are encouraging, that emerging computerized technologies may have physiological effects and potential benefits for middle-aged and older adults.
"Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function."
The latest study was based on 24 volunteers aged between 55 and 76. Half were experienced internet users, the rest were not.
Each volunteer underwent a brain scan while performing web searches and book-reading tasks.
Both types of task produced evidence of significant activity in regions of the brain controlling language, reading, memory and visual abilities.
However, the web search task produced significant additional activity in separate areas of the brain which control decision-making and complex reasoning - but only in those who were experienced web users.
The researchers said that compared with simple reading, the internet's wealth of choices requires that people make decisions about what to click on in order to get the relevant information.