Science To Life

Nicholas Carr set out to explore how the ubiquity of text on the Internet is affecting our brains, after realizing that his increased Internet use may be affecting his ability to concentrate on reading long, detailed texts. His essay is published in the July/August issue of The Atlantic

“Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain,” he says. “The deep reading that use to come naturally has become a struggle.”

As the Internet becomes a universal conduit for most of the information that flows through our eyes and ears, it seems to be chipping away at our capacity for concentration and contemplation.

While we still await the long-term neurological and psychological experiments that will provide a definitive picture of how Internet use affects cognition, a recently published study of online research habits, conducted by scholars from University College London, suggests that we may well be in the midst of a sea change in the way we read and think.

Read the full article.

Comments

  1. #1 Matt Platte
    June 23, 2008

    He may be on to something. I’ve found that over the years I’ve less stomach for the pretentiousness of the Atlantic. Maybe I’m getting dumber. Or maybe not.

  2. #2 Betul Kacar
    June 23, 2008

    This reminded me something a read a couple years ago; here is the link:
    http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/ptech/12/30/byrne.powerpoint.ap/

    I guess it is a matter of “things you own, end up owning you” kind of thing. (special thanks to fight club!)

  3. #3 Karen Ventii
    June 23, 2008

    Thank you both for the comments. Great article Betul.

  4. #4 The Ridger
    June 23, 2008

    Yet he expects people to read his article. And wastes the first page on anecdotes, which he admits “don’t prove much.” Seems to me if he believes his own argument he’d pack the front with what facts he has – it wouldn’t have taken much. As someone who reads blogs a lot, and still can get through 800 pages in a day (if that day is Saturday), I don’t buy his argument. Maybe there’s something to it, but I’d say it’s habit and believing we can “multitask” – and that that’s a good thing – more than “rewiring”.

  5. #5 Betul Kacar
    June 24, 2008

    That is a good point! To add, I don’t think it matters how we get the knowledge, or where we get it from nor debate about if those ways are making us dumb. Frankly, when I spend 5 hours in the library while my head is buried in the books and bookshelves, I don’t feel any smarter either.

  6. #6 Zhanetta Astakhova
    July 12, 2008

    Offtopic
    Karen, I realized that I learned the word ‘ubiquitin’ before a word ‘ubiquity’. :)

  7. #7 Karen Ventii
    July 13, 2008

    Hi Zhanetta,
    Since I work on the ubiquitin protein, I must say that I’m quite happy about your statement :)