The internet has fundamentally changed our life. It helps us navigate through our days, it connects us with other people across the world and it's having some unexpected effects on our brain.
Thanks to innovations like smartphones, tablets and social media, technology will likely continue to re-shape the way we communicate, feel, and think.
Here are just 3 ways the internet is changing how we think. There are many more.
It's shortening our attention spans.
We have been concerned about the internets effect on concentration for years, and according to a 2015 study, those fears of becoming 'digital goldfish' may have already been realized.
The average goldfish famously has an attention span of approximate 9 seconds, but humans had an attention span of 12 seconds - unti 2000,when it suddenly dropped to 8 seconds. That startling change has been traced back to the advent of the mobile phone.
There seems to be a generational divide when it comes to attention spans as well. Nearly 80% of 18-24 year olds surveyed admitted to picking up their smartphone 'when nothing is occupying their attention, compared to only 10 of people over 65.
It's trapping us in a state of perpetual distraction.
How often do you check your phone? A 2016 study found that the average smartphone user checks their phone over 2,600 times a day. That adds up to a million times a year, and that number is likely to keep increasing as people become even more dependent on their devices.
What the internet is doing to our brains has been described as 'a state of perpetual distraction and constant disruption', the price people pay for having 'unlimited information at their fingertips'.
It is said that 'if you exist in a perpetual state of distractedness, you'll never tap into your deepest source of human insight and creativity.
It's making long-term memory worse.
Constant browsing, scrolling, and clicking can potentially impact a person's ability to retain and remember information. If you are constantly distracted and taking in new information, you're essentially pushing information into and out of your conscious mind. You're not attending to it in a way that is necessary for the rich consolidation of memory.
In 2011 there was a study published that noted how people remembered less information, since they knew they could easily Google it later. In other words, access to the internet can encourage a lazy mind.
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