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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


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In 2009, Winifred Gal­lagher pub­lished his excel­lent Rapt: Atten­tion and the Focused Life, per­sua­sive­ly argu­ing that pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, enjoy­ment and human devel­op­ment require extend­ed peri­ods of focus­ing.

The next year, Nicholas Carr pub­lished his fas­ci­nat­ing The Shal­lows: What the Inter­net Is Doing to Our Brains in which he argued that the Inter­net is ‘rewiring’ our brains. While his claim was exag­ger­at­ed, infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy and the Inter­net cer­tain­ly pro­vide chal­lenges to Read the rest of this entry »

The Internet will fry your brain. Sure.

BrainScanHomerSimpsonThe Boston Globe has a good article/ book review on the lat­est qua­si-lud­dite attack on the Inter­net (an attack in the name of brain sci­ence no less, and with cool brain scans). The book in ques­tion: “The Shal­lows: What the Inter­net Is Doing to Our Brains.”

The Inter­net ate my brain (Boston Globe)
Nicholas Carr says that our online lifestyle threat­ens to make us dumb­er. But resis­tance may not be futile

The reporter, Wes Ander­son, adds the prop­er per­spec­tive, in my view, by end­ing the arti­cle with:

Books and the Inter­net, lit­er­ary cul­ture and dig­i­tal cul­ture have coex­ist­ed for many years. It may be that an engaged intel­lec­tu­al life will now require a sort of hybrid exis­tence — and a hybrid mind that can adapt and sur­vive by the choic­es one makes. It may require a new kind of self-dis­ci­pline, a willed and prac­ticed abil­i­ty to focus, in a pur­pose­ful and almost med­i­ta­tive sense — to step away from the net­work and seek still­ness, immer­sion.”

Now, you can call this hybrid mind shal­low. I call it all my only hope.”

Wes: you’re quite right. Not only that, but the Inter­net-enabled “weapon­ry to resist”,  what we pre­fer to call a toolk­it to mon­i­tor and enhance cognition/ brain fit­ness in ways we could­n’t do before, is grow­ing by the day. We’ll just need to learn to use it prop­er­ly ‑and the Inter­net as a whole, to be sure‑, to enhance our lives. My bet is: we will.

Nicholas Carr does a great job high­light­ing the impli­ca­tions of life­long neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty ‑every­thing we do/think/feel has a phys­i­cal and func­tion­al impact on our brains, for bet­ter or for worse‑, but misiden­ti­fies  our brains most like­ly ene­my (watch­ing TV? chron­ic stress?), and fails to con­sid­er that we tend to learn how to ride bikes by rid­ing bikes.

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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