Are the internets messing up your brain?
  • Interesting article here on internet addiction and brain function:

    Here's the most interesting part:

    Besides symptoms of addiction and withdrawals, scientists have also observed that internet addiction changes the way the brain functions, and actually compared an internet-addicted person's brain function to that of an alcoholic.

    "My research has raised some red flags about the effects on our psyche from these new technologies," said Dr Elias Aboujaoude, director of the Impulse Control Disorders Clinic at Stanford University.

    Aboujaoude's observations include changes in how people use and rely on memory, as well as other aspects of intellectual life including writing, reading and attention span.

    "They are all being transformed by the internet. Our entire cognitive universe is changing - and not necessarily in a good way," Aboujaoude continued.

    Recent developments suggest the world's increasing use of the internet could be affecting more than just the part of the brain relied on for memory. Research shows that allowing the brain to rest is essential for learning, processing information and the development of wisdom and insight.

    "These things are high virtues. You have to give the brain down time. But we don't," said Cash.

    In his book, Virtually You, Aboujaoude discusses how negative personality traits often surface online, including impulsivity, immaturity, narcissism and a "penchant for immoral behaviour".

    "The problem is that these traits don't stay 'there' ... they often become incorporated into our offline personality as well," Aboujaoude said.

    So, while some might say the internet allows mass communication and may save the world, it also messes up the way we speak with each other. I know I'm definitely addicted to the internet and my ability to meditate well or be smarter in real life suffers for it. Are we screwed either way? Are we all making our addiction worse by posting here?

    tl,dr: Brains have become so shitty because of the internet that everything is tl,dr.
    Post edited by PigsCantFly at 2012-02-19 21:57:52
  • tl;

    no. words are ineffective.

  • I hope that my brain isn't getting dumb. I wake up and turn my laptop on first thing. Soon the computers will control me, all the better for the coming of robo-jesus and the singularity.
  • @KHAN

    The internet does more than exist, it also performs functions. It's the nature of those functions themselves that is the real problem, not the society it's a part of. Though I do think society has pushed the internet in a certain direction.
  • Cashlin I do the same thing, and I'm sure it's wrecking havoc on my attention span and making me more easily annoyed at things. And making it harder to sleep.
    Post edited by PigsCantFly at 2012-02-19 22:30:05
  • Hmm, but let's say a knife works really when when spreading sugary fatty spreads, and really badly when spreading healthy ones. Let's also say these are the only knives that exist in the world.

    It's still up to people what they'll spread, but the nature of the knife itself will lead to more people getting fatter.

    The nature of the internet is that information is delivered quickly, without effort and is of a lower quality than say, books. If you use this 6 hours a day and get addicted to it, it's going to cause damage.
  • i disagree on the quality of information,

    If you are smart the information you gather will be rock solid. Its people who have no idea how to use the "magical knife" spreading "magical spreads" with ignorance that make it seem that way.

    You can use only wikipedia and google to formulate your ideas, or you can check facts based on references and dive into topics.

    Read a book, you learn a little bit
    Research enough to write a book, you learn alot

    The Internet was designed as a "healthy spread Knife" we choose to use it for the wrong enterprise driven purposes.

    "a bottle can hold a delicious beverage... or you could stick it up your ass and throw yourself down a flight of stairs and bleed out" - joe rogan
    Post edited by Surfsuparsehole at 2012-02-19 23:01:15
  • Not only is the internet altering the nature and medium of social interactions, but it is also changing how we read and process information.


    "I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle."

    I would bet that some of you were unable to read that paragraph continuously or simply did not attempt to read it because it seemed to long.

    "And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski."

    It's the internet man.

    Great book as well for those interested in brain plasticity and how the internet is literally changing the structure of our brains:
  • Nosmo, that's such a good article I almost read the whole thing.
  • @Surfsuparsehole

    Me too. People have the attention spans of fish these days. I tried to show a friend a youtube video and after nothing spectacular happened 30 seconds in they groaned that it was boring. It's really king of sad, and scary. People spend all day looking at tiny snippets of shit, but anything over 100 words of so and its: "TL; DR deeerp, and here's an irrelevant, barely ironic picture that probably took me as long to find and attach as it would have to read the actual post."

    I would like to visit a school and sit in on a grade 8 or 9 class, just to see how things like attention span have changed.
    Post edited by yetiite at 2012-02-20 03:13:53
  • yes this is true, but its the way people have come to adapt to the influx of information, if you did not skim and filter information you would never get around to the relevant things.

    its like telling somone they are crazy because they looked up the antidote to a poison, before reading the whole preface of the book first.

    You want to jump in, get the information you are seeking and get out of there. why should everything be read? we were not programed to read at all,

    our attention spans are supposed to be small, otherwise we would be trying to figure out everything about the anthill while lions mauled our family's.

    Small attention spans leaves the mind open to wider learning.
  • Before tv was books, ever since we found these stimulant ways of storing and conveying ideas we have grown both as a society and a race.
  • The problem is people skimming very limited snippets of information and forming opinions or worse, decisions based on it. How many times have you read a news article where the person commenting on it, had basically just read the title and the first few lines and then pontificated a completely skewed angle that had no basis on what was written at all? They rely on a totally insufficient amount of data and pepper their description of it with preconceived ideas or worse, warp it into something they want it to be.

    I was reading about financial literacy yesterday and it was suggested a little information is worse than no information, because people read or learn some basic information or techniques and often over estimate their knowledge or skill set, and in turn make bad decisions. There is nothing worse than a know it all who knows fuck all but acts like they're a genius on a topic.

    Just like this post. I know very little on how we process and utilize information. But what I do know is that reading an entire article, or forum post, or journal article, or book, rather than skimming a tenth of it leads to better conversations and better understanding of a certain topic.

    Tl;dr is a terrible attitude. Skimming everything we read just lead to people reading tiny snippets of 100 different things and coming away from the effort no better off. It's a waste of time. Just like multitasking. It can't be done. Trying listening to a podcast and reading a book at the same time, then recalling information from both accurately. But that's a different Tl;dr post.
    Post edited by yetiite at 2012-02-20 09:29:15
  • KHAN said:

    Interesting. Again I think this comes down to the user and the society. Before internet, there was Tv, which required no active partcipation by the user. this creates atrophy. Again, WHY people access these things is a determining factor of attention and retention of data.

    This is partially true- people use mediums like TV and the internet because they are easy, and it is human nature to like easy. The real issue begins when something so engrossing and pervasive comes along (such as the internet) where it dominates people's lives. This can be said for television use to some extent, but I would say the rate of chronic TV use is no where near the rate of chronic internet use. And that rate will never decline.

    KHAN said:

    The problem is not the internets. the problem is and always has been idiots, across the board. There is nothing wrong with the internet. Its the mutant retards of the society ruining it for everyone AGAIN.

    It's more of a combination of idiots and the availability of the internet. Sure there have always been idiots, but the internet is breeding more and more of them. I bet we see some serious changes in economic and social dynamics within the next decade or so as soon as the current generation reaches adulthood.
  • absolutely, for most its a novelty addiction
  • The internet can make you dumb because it's the perfect resource to waste your time and do nothing but look at ignorant, meaningless shit all day. On the other hand, and what makes it most important is that it's an endless resource. We can learn about anything we want at any given moment. In that sense there really is no excuse for people to be stupid anymore.
  • Access to large amounts of data can be confused with intelligence, so people feel they are smarter than the rest when they can find links and bits of information fast. This normally happens when someone has a topic people are not actually interested in but they feel the need to look "schooled" on it.

    Talking to Simone who likes tanks of ww2 era.
    Read someplace hitler used Panza tanks to invade Poland.
    Claim hitter only used Panza tanks in Poland.

    The trouble is this person was not interested in tanks but absorbed some information one time.

    Let's be honest here @howe11 didn't read this thread, he skimmed the first post then replied.
    That's because he isn't Interested but has an opinion.
    His opinion isn't wrong or Anything, he just is not interested in what we been talking about.
  • Crazy.
    The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up. -- Paul Valéry
  • I like the idea of this quote

    internet addiction changes the way the brain functions

    In a few generations we may entirely replace words with gifs, as we slide into the singularity. Words are subject to misinterpretation, vagaries of context, but gifs are pure & precise communication.

    Maybe we're all retarded by virtue of being human. Long live the Yang Clan.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!