Top boffin Nicholas Carr has just written a book where he claims that the the stimulation of the digital age is changing the make-up of our brains and making us stupid.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Carr said that although the world wide wibble has been around just 20 years, it has a dark side.
He said that the net, with its constant distractions and interruptions, is turning us into scattered and superficial thinkers.
His latest book The Shallows: How the Internet Is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember was inspired by the fact that he felt he was losing his capacity for concentration and contemplation. His said that his mind was always hungry for constant stimulation.
So he started to look at the many psychological, behavioural, and neurological studies and found some quite troubling information.
People who read text studded with links understand less than those who read words printed on pages. Those who watch multimedia presentations remember less than those who use traditional means.
People who are continually distracted by emails, updates and other messages understand less than those who are able to concentrate. Multitaskers are less creative and less productive than those who do one thing at a time.
It looks like when we are distracted and interrupted, our brains can’t forge the strong and expansive neural connections that give distinctiveness and depth.
It looks like the cellular structure of the brain, adapts readily to the tools we use to find, store and share information. IT use strengthens certain neural pathways and weakens others and this goes on even when we’re not using the technology.
Social notworking sites which pump out streams of brief messages, has made matters worse, he said.
While skimming pages is perfectly normal, net study prevents people from accessing the unconscious parts of their brain as it distracts them with…. oh a castle.