Are Digital Devices Altering Our Brains?


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According to (This article and its images were originally posted on Scientific American Content September 11, 2018 at 08:04AM.)

Ten years ago technology writer Nicholas Carr published an article in the Atlantic entitled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” He strongly suspected the answer was “yes.” Himself less and less able to focus, remember things or absorb more than a few pages of text, he accused the Internet of radically changing people’s brains. And that is just one of the grievances leveled against the Internet and at the various devices we use to access it–including cell phones, tablets, game consoles and laptops. Often the complaints target video games that involve fighting or war, arguing that they cause players to become violent.

But digital devices also have fervent defenders—in particular the promoters of brain-training games, who claim that their offerings can help improve attention, memory and reflexes. Who, if anyone, is right?

The answer is less straightforward than you might think. Take Carr’s accusation. As evidence, he quoted findings of neuroscientists who showed that the brain is more plastic than previously understood. In other words, it has the ability to reprogram itself over time, which could account for the Internet’s effect on it. Yet in a 2010 opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, psychologists Christopher Chabris, then at Union College, and Daniel J. Simons of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign rebutted Carr’s view: “There is simply no experimental evidence to show that living with new technologies fundamentally changes brain organization in a way that affects one’s ability to focus,” they wrote. And the debate goes on.

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This article and its images were originally posted on [Scientific American Content] September 11, 2018 at 08:04AM. All credit to both the author Elena Pasquinelli and Scientific American Content | ESIST.T>G>S Recommended Articles Of The Day.

 

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