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New Study Finds Effects From This Very Common Activity May Actually Be 'Worse Than Being Stoned

"Use of technology in our everyday lives is damaging the brain."

A man smokes a marijuana cigarrette in Montevideo on December 7, 2012. Lawmakers in Uruguay are studying a bill to legalize the cultivation of marijuana and allow limited personal consumption of it -- which if passed, will have authorities controlling its quality and the amount used. With the bill, which is supported by President Jose Mujica, the government wants to end drug-related violent crime which in recent years has emerged for the first time in this sleepy nation sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

A trend that's become common among millions of adults and teenagers can produce the same effects as being high on drugs, a new study has revealed.

A man smokes a marijuana cigarrette in Montevideo on December 7, 2012. Lawmakers in Uruguay are studying a bill to legalize the cultivation of marijuana and allow limited personal consumption of it -- which if passed, will have authorities controlling its quality and the amount used. With the bill, which is supported by President Jose Mujica, the government wants to end drug-related violent crime which in recent years has emerged for the first time in this sleepy nation sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images) A man smokes a marijuana cigarrette in Montevideo on December 7, 2012. Lawmakers in Uruguay are studying a bill to legalize the cultivation of marijuana and allow limited personal consumption of it -- which if passed, will have authorities controlling its quality and the amount used. With the bill, which is supported by President Jose Mujica, the government wants to end drug-related violent crime which in recent years has emerged for the first time in this sleepy nation sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen found that by moving your eyes from one electronic device screen to another and back for any length of time can cause similar effects as that of being high, the U.K.'s Daily Star reported.

One of the study's researchers even suggested that staring at multiple screens is "worse than being stoned." In fact, for every time your eyes move from one screen to another, your brain releases a hormone called dopamine, which is also the chemical the brain lets out when a person becomes high by using drugs.

The study also found that when the brain is focused on only one thing it transports information to the hippocampus where it is stored and organized for later use. However, when the brain pays attention to more than one thing at a time the information it collects as a result is sent to a different part of the brain, known as the striatum, where it is more difficult to retrieve later, according to the Daily Star. 

While some people might think doing more at once helps them get more done, the study found the opposite to be true. As part of the experiment, researchers tracked a group of individuals who used their cellphones and/or tablets while watching TV.

A majority of the participants said doing both made them feel "productive and efficient." But later, only half of the respondents said they could remember what they actually watched on TV.

But switching from device to device might not just be having an affect on what you remember. It could also lower your IQ, just as using an excessive amount of drugs can make you less smart over time.

"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," one researcher said.

(H/T: Daily Star)

Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

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