The end of an era reflections: WHAT the Internet is doing to our minds

No matter how attractive the lights of Las Vegas, take their technology, and gambling move to a virtual world where now, more people than in the cities casinos.

I used to, when I was not busy reading books, loved to think or observe the world around you. This happened mostly during trips in the subway, at night when I lay in bed and couldn't sleep or in the morning before you get up.

However, I now find themselves in similar situations, take up your phone to check notifications, browse the news on the Internet, write to your friends, open some application or listen to music (in rare cases I do the old fashioned "phone calls"). The only place where I can be guaranteed to be alone with your thoughts is the shower.


"The search for moments for contemplative thinking was always a problem because we are constantly distracted, says Nicholas Carr, author of "the Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our minds". But now that we're all day wearable with a powerful multimedia device, these opportunities are becoming increasingly rare, for the simple reason that we have the ability to constantly distract you".

Neuroplasticity (the property of the human brain to be molded by experience) caused by the use of technology is a hot topic. Usually the alarmist tone of the discussion, although sometimes optimistic.

Take, for example, video games: the results of one study showed that older people improve their memory and attention during the game in a normal race. According to another study, during a game in "Super Mario 64" in humans is to increase the amount of gray matter in brain regions associated with memory, planning and spatial navigation.

However, these cognitive abilities are different from the absorbing thought. In a world where a phone or computer are rarely at a distance greater than the length of the arm, if we exclude the reflection in those moments that previously contributed to this? Caused by the violation of the depth of reflection that we are accustomed to look for immediate gratification under the influence of external stimuli?

The results of several neuroscientific research shows that we are very dependent on electronic devices that allegedly violate our cognitive abilities. In 2015 the journal "PLOS One" with defined level of smartphone usage by participants in the age from 18 to 33 years, and asked them to share their estimates.

According to the findings, most of us use phones a lot more than we think. Participants in the study said that smartphone use on average 37 times per day (this includes all the steps associated with unlocking the screen, starting with alarm and ending phone calls), but the actual number was about 85 times. Also, the participants were asked to estimate the total duration of smartphone usage throughout the day. They said they use their devices for about an hour a day. The real figure was 5 hours (including phone calls and listening to music when the screen was off).

If You are awake 16 hours a day, it means that You turn on or check my phone about every eleven minutes (and that's not counting the time You spend on the computer), and 5 hours is more than 30% of Your day.

How such compulsive behavior affects the ability to think?

In 2010, the researchers, led by Dr Steven Fleming from the Centre for neuroimaging at University College London (eng. Wellcome Trust Center for Neuroimaging at University College London) published in the journal "Science" article that correlated with introspective ability by the amount of gray matter in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. (Under introspective abilities scientists meant the accuracy of determining their own performance at the level of visual perception, a sign of metacognition, or "thinking about thinking".)

Based on this information, the prefrontal cortex in 2015 Brian Maniscalco and Hakwan Lau published an article in the journal "Neuroscience of Consciousness". In it they presented the results of a study which measured the introspective abilities of the subjects while performing the same task under the influence of distraction in the form of the second complex task. The diversion to the second task actually does not affect the performance of participants during execution of the first, but it had a negative impact on the ability to be introspective. Multitasking leads to a decrease in cognitive performance.

According to Dr. Fleming, in the same way the use of phones ("second task") influences our ability to think ("task").

"The prefrontal cortex is well able to perform one specific task, he says. – If You put before a person for two tasks, the second will have a negative impact on the functions involved in introspection".

It seems illogical to say that we are entering neselektivno cultural phase, as our time is usually criticized for your self-centeredness. However, our solipsism is most often focused on the external manifestation, rather than internal learning, and image attract more attention than ever. In such new media, as Instagram, the text performs a secondary role of language.

And Twitter? The name "tweet" is very much in tune with "thinking". Its brevity is perfect for aphorism and even a little more (if You watched the content of the tweets).

For a certain percentage of the population thought that they were kept in secret until the advent of smartphones, allowing them to "marinate" as long as they can articulate in 140 characters, now expressed publicly.

Moreover, in the Internet age, speed is valued above all else. In 2006, the independent research company "Forrester Research" found that online shoppers want the web page loaded in less than four seconds. Three years later, the figure had shrunk to two seconds. Slow loading web pages caused many buyers to find the goods elsewhere.

In 2012, Google engineers found that when the results appear, longer, than two-fifths seconds, it forces users to refer to websites-competitors.

"As our technologies increase the intensity of stimulation and the flow of new things, we are forced to adapt to such a rate,' says Mr Carr. – We become less patient. When there are moments without stimulation, we begin to panic and not know what to do with them."

Mr. Carr also noted the following: the formulation of relatively simple thoughts on the Internet can result in more complex and interact in real time with others.


Also interesting: Neurolinguist Tatiana Chernigovskaya: How the Internet affects our brain

5 things you begin to notice when you stop watching the news

Whatever it was, it examines the current direction as an indication of "loss of contemplative thinking."

"We have adopted the ideal of reason from the company "Google" which is that in order to get a quick answer on the topic, you need to ask clearly formulated question. As a society, we claim that the thinking has ceased to be important. It is considered to be ineffective."published


Author: Alexander Dino




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