Thursday, September 27, 2012

What is the Internet Really Doing to Us?

www Image by theLibraryLander
Image by theLibraryLander

Is it making us smarter or dumber? Maybe a little of both, according to an article in Der Spiegel. Overall, children's IQ levels are increasing around the world, but their language facility (especially vocabulary) is diminishing, which would make sense since younger people read less in the traditional sense. Not surprisingly, there appears to be a generational gap in the kind of skills young and old have acquired since the arrival of the internet. In a new book by scientist James R. Flynn, "Are We Getting Smarter? Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century," it is claimed that young people solve visual and logical problems quickly, whereas older people do better linguistically. And though today's children may never be able to learn language the way older people have, their IQ levels are exceeding that of their elders. Of course, the use of IQ tests has always been controversial, particularly when accounting for cultural differences. But, the article also cites a best-selling book by German psychiatrist Manfred Spitzer, called "Digital Dementia" which argues that children are becoming dumber because of their constant exposure to digital media. I guess our brains are just changing for both better and for worse. 

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