Monday, May 31, 2010
Rewiring Our Brains
I'm a geek. I always have been, but what can I say? I love to learn, and technology helps me, but is it also rewiring my brain? According to Nicholas Carr in the article The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains, using the internet and technology to multitask is rerouting our neural pathways. Introducing hyperlinks (like I just did) into text " disrupts concentration [and] such activity weakens comprehension."
Mr. Carr describes several different experiments including scanning surfers' brains with MRIs and reading text only information vs. information with video, and the results are in: humans don't process information as well when we are not focused. I'm not really that surprised by the information presented in the article. As I stated in my first blog, the sheer volume and variety of information and resources required by the EIT and MPP classes makes it more difficult to process, relate to and store. I have a hard time remembering what I have finished and what I need to do because I have to access so many different resources...that in turn link to so many other resources...that in turn....
According to the article, psychologist Patricia Greenfield concluded that the benefits of the internet “go hand in hand with a weakening of our capacity for the kind of ‘deep processing’ that underpins ‘mindful knowledge acquisition, inductive analysis, critical thinking, imagination, and reflection.’” I find it interesting that the online version of this article contains hyperlinks in several paragraphs. The whole point is that those hyperlinks are making it more difficult to learn the information in the article.
A resource for those of you who also find the web distracting is Readability. It will filter all the ads…but not the hyperlinks. Just resist the temptation to click on the pretty blue words.
Picture of Andrew Carnegie Wikipedia page