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Intellectual Slaves To The Internet Essay

1624 words - 6 pages

These changes in the brain are related to its neuroplasticity. According to Nicolas Carr in The Shallows neuroplasticity is how our brains processes and reacts to information as it has been trained to do (Carr, 2010, p. 120). The Internet is causing major changes in the plasticity of the brain. Many studies have found that, “plasticity not only of adult brain function, but brain composition as well is proven to show that consistent use of the brain in particular ways strengthens the neurological pathways and modes of thought conducive to those activities” (Murray, 2013, p. 74). Meaning that those areas of the brain we use more become stronger and over power other parts of the brain. This is what the Internet is altering in our brains. Agreeing with Carr, Emily Mandel says, “I began to realize that after all this time on the Internet, I’d trained my brain to expect a new stimulation every few minutes” (2010). She began to notice her brain thinking differently because of the Internets training. She gives an example of this change when she says, “After a short period of concentration on a given task, my brain would do what I’d trained it to do; it would turn its attention to something else” (Mandel, 2010). She found she could only concentrate for a short periods of time due to her brain training. The Internet with all of its information and ads trains our brains to quickly skim something and move on to the next snippet of information.
Due to the distractive nature of the Internet, people’s memory is decreasing which further decreases intelligence. The Internet is made up of ads and links that draw attention from the desired information, making it difficult to concentrate on what is really important. Murray points out that, “ It is also becoming evident that multi-tasking, an occupational hazard of Internet use, is not a strength of the human brain” (2013, p. 76). With all the distractions and information right in front of us, it is difficult to choose what to look at first. Our brains try to take it all in at once which ends up being a blockade to learning since the human brain is not efficient at multi-tasking. Distractions cause the brain to not function properly; “sustained attention and information retention get less likely, with short-term memories dissipating rather than engaging in the processes necessary for the formation of long-term memories” (Murray, 2013, p.75). This decrease in concentration results in a lack of learning. When distracted, the brain cannot think critically about a topic making it difficult to fully understand what is being talked about in the reading.
Many tests have been done to prove that the Internet decreases memory and intelligence. Betsy Sparrow, an assistant professor of psychology, ran tests to find out what affects the Internet has on the brain. In her study she had participants type trivia questions into a computer. She found that half of them believed that their typing would be saved and accessible later....

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