Posted by: kelliroesch | November 12, 2012

Flittering around on the Internet and our changing brains

Before writing The Shallows; What the Internet is Doing to our Brains the author Nicholas Carr posed a question in The Atlantic magazine. “Is Google making us Stupid?” he asked. Like many people who now spend a lot of time on the Internet, Carr was once an avid and deep reader who felt himself changing.  “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski” he said. 

Besides anecdotal accounts that we all may identify with, Carr references a study from 2007 by the University College of London that examined the online habits of library users. The study, conducted over five years, found that Internet users bounced around a lot amongst pages, but when they did stop, they rarely read more than one or two pages of the site, and they rarely came back to pages they visited.  As a result, the Google Generation,  as they are called, lacks analytical skills necessary to assess the information they find on the Internet, said Information Week.

I believe that the original study conducted in 2007 is sorely out of date since five years has passed and “power browsing” is much higher due to more mobile devices and tablets with Internet capabilities available to information consumers.  The study found back then that “everyone, not just young people, prefers easily digestible chunks of information, rather than the full text, ” and that “Society is dumbing down.” (Information Week) 

Do you think we’re smarter or is society dumbing down?


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