The Impact of the Internet on the Brain: What Do We Really Know?
Almost every week you hear a new report of the dangers of the impact of our new technologies: the internet, various digital devices, gaming…Here’s a wonderfully refreshing video that reviews what the research-to-date actually tells us about the impact of the Internet on the brain. Dr. Paul Howard Jones goes through popular fears about technology and discusses what the research tells us about whether or not those fears are warranted.
Dr. Jones makes many excellent points, including these two:
- Many of studies compare novice technology users’ brains to those of experienced users, or they look at how a user’s brain changes over time after interacting with the technology. The changes demonstrated may be more reflective of learning than of the impact of technology per se. We already know that learning changes the brain. So these studies may tell us more about the impact of certain types of learning and less about how the learning took place (e.g. via some specific technology).
- Talking about the impact of video gaming is meaningless. One needs to look at what’s happening in the video games. Is the gamer shooting people? Or solving problems? These are very different experiences that will have very different consequences.
What I like best about this video is the balance that characterizes the speaker’s perspective. For example, he acknowledges what some research (on violent games) has demonstrated while making sure we don’t overgeneralize those findings.
But don’t take my word for it..please check out the video. I would love to hear others’ reactions (even if you don’t agree with my assessment).