If you're a Twitter user - and who isn't these days? - or a telly addict you'd better stop what you're doing and step away from the computer if you want to save yourself from brain rot.

That's the conclusion that might be drawn after reading work from scientists at the University of Southern California, who have studied the effect of today's information age on human brain development.

Emotional development

Researchers at the college's Brain and Creativity Institute say constant input from sources like television (and, possibly, updates from acquaintances on sites like Twitter, Facebook and other networks) are bad for emotional development.

In effect, their 'Nobler Instincts Take Time' paper, suggests the torrent of information bludgeons the senses into a kind of torpor where young users in particular find it difficult to show compassion for others.

Indifference to suffering

One expert explained: "Lasting compassion ... requires a level of persistent, emotional attention. In a media culture ... indifference to the vision of human suffering gradually sets in."

The work posits that the result could be a society of disconnected individuals only loosely bound by social networks and devoid of what might be considered a traditional moral compass.

You have been warned, but let's not take it too seriously, eh?