Posted by: nallen123 | November 10, 2012

Losing Our Minds

Cracking open Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows, a book about the impact of the internet on our brains and culture, I got nostalgic to be holding a book and turning its pages to find out what would come next. It’s not that I don’t read books. I just read them in pieces. It’s as though I’m reading online content — in small, digestible pieces. This habit has rendered every flat surface in my home littered with stacks of books “in progress,” and my memory somewhat incapable of recalling which bit of knowledge came from what source. My nostalgia grew out of knowing that I’m going to read this book, cover to cover, in a span of time that will allow the introduction to still be fresh in my mind by the time I reach the conclusion. Honestly, I keep struggling to accept that that’s even possible anymore.

And, for some of us, it might not be.

Studies of neurophysiological processes have found that the human brain is very “plastic.” Our brains evolve to adapt to new experiences. Thanks to internet-based technology, our attention spans are suffering as we become accustomed to bite-size information. The infographic below, itself a form of bite-size communication, illustrates this trend. Unless we deliberately exercise our brains to read long passages, that skill could die out. The issue of weakened memory and attention span is so prevalent in our culture that today I saw an ad for lumosity.com, a website dedicated to “brain training.”

QUESTION: Do you feel like you’re losing your mind? Or, in this internet age, are we simply repurposing our minds to function differently? How much effort are you willing to invest in brain maintenance?

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Responses

  1. That is an awesome info graph


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