A psychologist, Patricia Greenfield has reviewed studies in our cognitive abilities from which Carr claims demonstrates we are becoming “shallower” (Carr 2010, p. w1). Carr refers to two specific examples. An experiment at Cornwell University, this was a small survey conducted in a classroom, the number of pupils was not documented in the article. Another experiment conducted at Stanford University with the conclusion being heavy multi-taskers were not effective at multi-tasking, as everything became a distraction. The more the person multi-tasks the more easily distracted and ‘had less control over their attention’.
This experiment was more comprehensive. To back up claims that the internet changes the way we think, Carr refers to an experiment done on primates in the 1970s and 1980s. The test seems extensive on how quickly our brains circuits responce can change based on our can experience. This doesn’t talk about how quickly the brain can therefore revert back when needed for more reflective activities such as when reading a book. Carr assumes that the increased level of visual-spatial intelligence needed for fast internet usage is a negative.
Carr hasn’t considered the effectiveness the increased spatial intelligence gives its user in other areas of technological advancement that require this skill set. Carr assumes that the internet is the main reason for people becoming distracted and therefore having low cognitive abilities, Carr’s studies don’t include how distractions can come in all forms not just pop ups and advertisements on a computer screen. He further assumes the classroom experiment revealing the internet didn’t help the learners is typical for all internet users.
Undeniably Carr is right in his notions of the internet being an easy distraction; multi-tasking and prioritising are learnt skills and ones that are undeniably tested by the internets powers of distraction. In our increasingly fast paced world multitasking is a necessary for survival, and therefore will continue to be a required skill for our future. Multitasking is needed in all facets of life making the skill a valuable one. References Carr, N 2010, ‘Does the internet make you dumber? , The Wall Street Journal p W1