The Internet vs My Brain

Via Librarian By Day, here's an interesting article titled "What the web is teaching our brains."
"Repeated daily actions such as web research and browsing direct the growth of neurons and connections within the brain, affecting thinking and behaviour. While the internet enhances our brain function in some ways – his study found it boosted decision-making and complex reasoning in older people – it can also lead to memory loss. Some research suggests there may be links between excessive computer use and conditions such as attention deficit disorder, depression and anxiety in younger people.
However, some researchers fear prolonged computer use could damage social skills. A Stanford University study found that for every hour we spend on our computers, traditional face-to-face interaction time with other people drops by almost 30 minutes. With less face-to-face contact and body language, we may begin to misinterpret others. Our human relationships may suffer, with areas in the prefrontal cortex which respond to facial expression becoming less developed. Decision-making may suffer, too."
It's now all bad though, here is what some common tasks can do for your brain:
* Internet research: Boosts the ability to integrate and process information as well as enhancing decision-making skills.
* General browsing: Encourages the use of continuous partial attention and multi-tasking, which can impair cognition and cause irritability
* Playing computer games: May improve multi-tasking skills, memory and peripheral vision. Can lead to antisocial behaviour.
* Building a blog or website: Building a blog or your own website improves frontal lobe function, reasoning and memory.
* Sorting email: Boosts information-processing functions in the brain's frontal lobe. Can also cause stress.
* Using emoticons: Exercises brain centres linked to emotion and social connection; particularly beneficial to those who use computers for long periods.
* Tweeting and chatrooms: Enhances peripheral attention, helps to boost self-esteem and protects the hippocampus.
The research presented is part of a book called "iBrain – Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind" by Dr Gary Small. Very interesting findings I'd say.

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