Posted by: crudbasher | August 8, 2011

When The Brain Specializes

(cc) alles-schlumph

There has been a growing amount of research about the physical effects of the Internet on brain development. It has been known for a long time that the brain will adapt to whatever tasks it is doing. For example, a violinist in an orchestra will have better hand eye coordination than average. Our bodies and brains are always changing and adapting to our environment. It should be no surprise that our brains are adapting to the flood of stimulus we are exposed to every day.

I use a computer for over 8 hours every day. I work in a building of people doing the same way. This wasn’t the case 40 years ago and yet our education system is exactly the same today as 40 years ago. This is a problem.

There is another problem though that this article doesn’t address. People will have to reinvent themselves several times over their lives to adapt to changing economic and technical times. If our brains lose the ability to focus and learn, how will we do that?

I don’t think using a computer is the actual problem though, it’s what we are doing with them. If you are passively consuming information and entertainment, your brain will neglect it’s creative centers. If you use computers to create things though, I think it will develop the creative centers of the brain. It’s exciting that computers allow you to create faster than ever before so I think the passiveness can be reversed over time.

Any comments?

  • study about brain changing by internet use

    tags: brain study internet

    • A new study provides evidence that heavy internet use by the young results in “brain structural alterations” of a kind associated with “impairment of cognitive control.” The study, published this month in PLoS ONE, was conducted in China, where approximately 14 percent of urban youths – some 24 million kids – are believed to suffer from so-called “internet addiction disorder.” Using brain scans, the researchers compared the brains of 18 adolescents who spend around eight to twelve hours a day online (playing games, mainly) with the brains of 18 adolescents who spend less than 2 hours a day online. The heavy Net users exhibited gray-matter “atrophy” as well as other “abnormalities,” and the changes appeared to grow more severe the longer the kids engaged in intensive Net use.
    • University College London neuroscientist Karl Friston tells Scientific American that while the shrinkage in gray matter is “quite extreme,” it’s “not surprising” when you take into account the plasticity of the adolescent brain: “Our brains grow wildly until our early teens, then we start pruning and toning areas to work more efficiently. So these areas may just be relevant to being a good online gamer, and were optimized for that.” But the study was a rigorous one, and the fact “that the results show anything significant at all is very telling,” Friston says. Further research will be required to confirm the study’s findings and to shed further light on behavioral and cognitive consequences of the changes.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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