Reading Entry Blog 6 – “Your Brain is Evolving Right Now”

In this article, authors Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan go into detail about how the new digital age is causing our brains to evolve in new and speedy ways.  They go deep into the science of the brain, explaining how the billions upon billions of connections in the brain are undergoing constant change, with new connections being formed and old, unused connections dying off every day.  This understanding of the way the brain functions is known as plasticity, and the onset of digital technology in recent generations has sped up this process immensely, taking evolution and causing it to advance in decades instead of millennium.  It’s not all happy-go-lucky in the minds of Small and Vorgan though; digital technology has been altering our brains to think in a way they call continuous partial attention, in which people are described to be continually busy with identifying and processing new information, often handling several sources of information at once.  This way of thinking has been found to have a negative effect on long-term memory, brain function, and mood, which is one thing that concerns scientists about this type of brain function.

URLs:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/healine-here/2015/02/13/a78172e0-855e-11e4-9534-f79a23c40e6c_story.html

– Washington Post explains how digital technology is ruining our minds.

http://lindastone.net/qa/continuous-partial-attention/

– an article about continuous partial attention

– a picture depicting how our attention is constantly drawn multiple ways in this day and age

Discussion Q’s:

– Is our ability to read social cues being stunted with the increase of non-face-to-face technology?

– What could be some benefits of retaining non-digitally transformed brains?

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