Dec 4, 2008

The wired world may be changing the way we read

Some scientists think. There are no firm answers yet. But Gary Small, a psychiatrist at UCLA, argues that daily exposure to digital technologies such as the Internet can alter how the brain works.

When the brain spends more time on technology-related tasks and less time exposed to other people, it drifts away from fundamental social skills like reading facial expressions during conversation, Small asserts.

So brain circuits involved in face-to-face contact can become weaker, he suggests. That may lead to social awkwardness, an inability to interpret nonverbal messages, isolation and less interest in traditional classroom learning.

More than 2,000 years ago, Socrates warned about a different information revolution — the rise of the written word, which he considered a more superficial way of learning than the oral tradition. Read more abou it...

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