The use of a mouse and other devices to control the cursor on a computer screen has changed the way that people that use computers brains generalize movement according to research conducted by Konrad Kording of Northwestern University and Kunlin Wei from China's Peking University that was published in the Dec. 19, 2013, edition of the journal Current Biology.
Computer use has fundamentally changed the way a person’s brain visualizes their hand movements.
Kording and Wei proved the idea in two tests.
The first trial pitted computer savvy people from China against Chinese people from the same area of China that had never used a computer. During the trial, neither group of participants could see their hands. The people that had never used a computer before rapidly grasped the movements needed to control the cursor but the experienced computer users demonstrated much higher levels of visualization of the next cursor move that was needed to complete a set of basic computer tasks.
The second trial involved 10 completely computer ignorant participants. The test subjects played computer games for two hours a day for two weeks. At the end of the training, the formerly computer naïve people showed the same capacity to visualize mouse and cursor movements as experienced computer users did.
The researchers propose extending this new understanding of how the human brain visualizes movement to the treatment of people who have been physically impaired by accidents or disease using computer based technology that requires cursor movement.