Posted by: heyschaefferyahoocom | November 21, 2016

What Have I Done?

In “The Shallows” Nicholas Carr discusses how the neuroplasticity allows the mind to physically restructure neuron pathways in order to more efficiently accomplish tasks.  For instance, you spend your time scanning webpages, your brain will become proficient at shallow speed reading; however, the neural pathways associated with deep reading might atrophy. Much like our muscles, which are trained and grown through exercise, the human brain is a product of its activity.

counterstrike-go

I play a competitive video game called Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. At any given time, there are roughly 500,000 players online. I started playing as an activity to do with my brothers who are all geographically separated. At this point, I’m proud/ashamed to say that I’ve logged more than 450 hours in-game.

The game requires extremely fast visual processing and reaction time. The difference between winning and losing a match often comes down to milliseconds, and a network lag of more than half a second makes the game unplayable. Furthermore, the game is played in matches that last about an hour each. Let’s just say, it’s intense.

The book makes me wonder what playing Counter-Strike has done to me. What neural pathways were rewritten? If the brain can be trained like a muscle, then what have I gained? My visual acuity and reaction time has likely increased. Thinking about the brain as an instrument that changes depending on one’s activities, puts pressure on the individual to engage in meaningful behavior? What have you thought about changing after reading this book?

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