The Iconic Brain or Do Smartphones Make You Smarter?


In the world of information technology the term icon is about as outdated as a dial phone.  In the not so distant past, the images on the screen of your computer were called “ICONS.”  From a religious perceptive, the word means “a window to heaven.”  From the viewpoint of technology “ICON” was used in reference to a window to an application.

The ICON has been buried in the bone yard of outdated computer technology and replaced by the APP.  The birth of the APP has walked in step with the proliferation of smartphones.

A story in US News & World Report has examined a study on the correlation between finger and thumb dexterity and the development of the sensory processing component of your brain while using a smartphone.  Each part of your body, from the top of your head to the tip of your toes, “has a corresponding ‘processing area’ in the emotional center of the brain, a region known as the somatosensory cortex.”

This function of the brain is often referred to as “sensory processing,” and it is the ability of the brain to interpret the information it has received, so it can prioritize and emphasize the components of the data; decide how to understand what is going on; and, decide what you will do based on the information received and processed.

Researchers used an EEG to study the brain activity of 37 people while they were using their cell phones:

  • 26 were using touch-screen smartphones
  • 11 were sing traditional cellphones with keypads

The study was able to distinguish between the length of time the subject had owned a smartphone and the frequency with it had been used.  The change in the brain was associated more with how frequently the smartphone was used over a 10 day period than just owning the phone and using it periodically.

Here’s a thought or two to keep you thinking:

  • How can these findings be applied to your life?
  • Is it more important to pray for a long time every now and then or to have short frequent prayers every day?
  • How does your prayer life mold and reshape the sensory processing region of your brain?

Perhaps this is one of the reasons Paul instructed the Christian to “pray without ceasing.”


The Blabbermouth Blues

bmouthGod, in His wisdom, gave us two ears and one mouth. By design, I believe we are to hear twice as much as we say, and we would probably get in twice as much trouble if we had two mouths and one ear.

To overcome the Blabbermouth Blues, James instructs us to speed up and to slow down: “Everyone must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness (James :19).”

How do you develop the “slow to speak” skill? A good regimen to practice is a three question set. Before you speak, ask yourself:
• Is what I’m about to say the truth the whole and nothing but the truth?
• Is what I’m about to say kind, or is it degrading?
• Is what I’m about to say necessary and beneficial to the person to whom I’m speaking?

The wisdom literature of the Bible speaks about your manner of speech:
• Psalm 19:13-14: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
• Proverbs 16:24: Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
• Proverbs 29:20: Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Solomon draws a contrast in Ecclesiastes 10:11-13, and it show a cause and effect relationship concerning your speech: “A serpent may bite when it is not charmed; the babbler is no different. The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool shall swallow him up; the words of his mouth begin with foolishness, and the end of his talk is raving madness.”

Here’s a little rhyme to think of the next time you are afflicted with a case of the Blabbermouth Blues:

Be careful of the words that you daily speak,
For you shall give account at the Judgment Seat.
Be careful of the things you say and do,
Or you’ll find your foot in your mouth,
And not in your shoe.