How does the internet effect our brains? A summary of The Shallows, chapter 7.
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by American journalist Nicholas Carr has its roots in Carr’s essay “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” which was published in The Atlantic in The book was first published in the UK with the title The Shallows: How the Internet Is Changing the Way We Think, Read and mesmmdaten.com investigates the effects the Internet has on the brain. Nicholas Carr published a book on this phenomenon, entitled “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.” He theorizes that the internet’s “cacophony of stimuli” and “crazy quilt” of information have given rise to “cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning.”.
In the digital age, we are overwhelmed with stimuli. Our computers, phones and digital tools allow us constant access to seemingly infinite information and give us a sense of connectivity.
We are more socially focused and efficient than ever before——but these benefits come at a price. Carr worries that we are trading in valuable skills for a type of intelligence that is adapting users to their computers, instead of the other way around. The older definition is associated with the era of print literature.
However, after the Industrial Revolution, a new spafknotes of intelligence started to take hold, one that privileged efficiency and multi-tasking over deep thinking. The system as a whole was seen as more important than the individual. With the invention of the Internet, this obsession with efficiency spiraled out of control. Our brans and tools are so easy to use that we are developing a ravenous appetite for more and more information, all consumed at breakneck wbat.
The sheer volume of data we are exposed to when we surf the web may be impressive, but our brains, Carr argues, are not equipped to both navigate the iternet inherent in the design of the Internet and consolidate deep and meaningful new elements of knowledge. Not only, Carr argues, is our definition of wwhat changing due to Internet use, but internt brains are being rewired in a disturbing way.
Carr emphasizes throughout the book—using official studies, scientific concepts, and brain science—that the changes made to us by our use of the Internet are not simply changes in our thoughts, but rather anatomical alterations in the brain itself. The Internet provides such a feast of distraction that no energy is left for the parts th our brains responsible for complex thought and developing subtle human emotions.
How to ease sinus pressure and pain great warning presented by The Shallows is not only that the Internet is changing our brains but that it may be diminishing the very skills and traits that make us human.
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Using the internet has ramifications on our brains that are consistently underplayed. Contemplation, retention, reading, and even basic attention control are all negatively impacted through consistent interaction with the medium. The Internet provides such a feast of distraction that no energy is left for the parts of our brains responsible for complex thought and developing subtle human emotions. The great warning presented by The Shallows is not only that the Internet is changing our brains but that it may be diminishing the very skills and traits that make us human. Sep 08, · What can science tell us about the actual effects that internet use is having on the way our minds work? Dozens of studies point to the fact that when we go online we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning.
A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. The Shallows Nicholas Carr. Transform this Plot Summary into a Study Guide. It investigates the effects the Internet has on the brain with a central thesis that reading a printed page of text leads to a higher level of comprehension than does reading online.
The opening chapter talks of the experience common to users of the Internet and similar technology of feeling that the more one becomes used to skimming material on the internet, the more difficult it becomes to maintain focus for an extended period of time. Children who grow up with the Internet develop a mindset that strays from the left to right reading of text, becoming a top to bottom task of searching for relevant information.
The reading of full-length texts requires sustained and focused linear thinking, which has become more difficult. This, significantly, represents a shift from the fundamental method of human thinking. The book goes on to examine historical ideas pertaining to human thinking. Friedrich Nietzsche reported that switching from pen and paper to a typewriter changed his style of writing. Traditional scientific assumptions had brain development ending after adolescence.
Later, shifts, such as the thinking of Michael Merzenich, presented the brain as being more malleable than had been assumed. The work of Eric Kandel built on this concept. The realization that the brain can restructure itself has led to, for example, the ability to retrain the brains of stroke victims. Developments in technologies, or tools, have been placed into four categories based on purpose.
One category focuses on physical strength, dexterity, and resilience and includes innovations, such as plows and fighter jets. Another category, sensitivity of senses, refers to inventions, such as the microscope and the Geiger counter. Tools such as birth control and reservoir are classified as accommodation of nature, while the final of the four categories has tools of cognitive support, such as maps, clocks, and books. Tools in the cognitive category are the ones that are most likely to change the brain in that they are designed to support a specific mental process.
That new technology poses threats to the status quo is nothing new. Plato, for example, wrote of how Socrates was worried that writing had the potential to negatively impact the ability to memorize, which could lead to students thinking that they were gaining knowledge when they, in fact, were just amassing data. Historically, reading hastened progress in society and at the same time rewired the human brain.
Learning to read helps the brains of children process information with less mental effort. This leads to the ability to lose oneself in the written page. It helped the brain develop a system for linear thinking. An interest in reading encouraged writers to be unconventional and write texts that were more original with more clarity and more style.
Books allowed for individual learning that connected to the interests of an individual rather than the group.
The growth of the Internet has caused changes in media as the Internet fills many functions and claims much time out of the day. There has been a reduction in the print media as most major printed publications have seen a fall in revenue and many have found themselves in bankruptcy.
Media sources have undergone reformatting, with books and articles placed online containing hyperlinks and advertisements. Magazines have significantly shortened the articles they contain. Changes such as these add to the loss of focus and continue to restructure the brain.
Linear thinking as a skill is being replaced by the ability to find meaning more quickly. The format of the Internet lends it to being a place of distractions. Users are jumping from one distraction to another but the nature of human memory limits how much can be consumed. Humans have both short- and long-term memory, as well as the working memory which serves as a bridge between the two. When utilizing the Internet, the working memory prevents people from retaining the content because so much information is being presented at the same time—it all just passes by.
Carr recognizes that people are not going to disconnect from the Internet so the effects it has on the brain cannot be avoided. The human brain has adapted to the new ways of processing information, and overall the benefits of the new technology likely outweigh the drawbacks.
However, he argues that we should not abandon attempts to retain the ability to focus and to think deeply with contemplation and reflection. Instead, The Shallows is most successful when Carr sticks to cultural criticism, as he documents the losses that accompany the arrival of new technologies. The rise of the written text led to the decline of oral poetry; the invention of movable type wiped out the market for illuminated manuscripts; the television show obliterated the radio play if hardly radio itself.
Similarly, numerous surveys suggest that the Internet has diminished our interest in reading books.