Is Google making us stupid?-What the Internet is doing to our brains

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.

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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.

By Matt Platte (not verified) on 23 Jun 2008 #permalink

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".

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.

By Betul Kacar (not verified) on 24 Jun 2008 #permalink

Karen, I realized that I learned the word 'ubiquitin' before a word 'ubiquity'. :)

By Zhanetta Astakhova (not verified) on 11 Jul 2008 #permalink

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