LRB · Jim Holt · Smarter, Happier, More Productive: ‘The Shallows’

The ability for our primitive monkey brains to constantly adapt means the inputs and the information we feed into it, have never been more important. Our brain functions are not set in concrete when young, but instead continue to adjust throughout our lives.

Continual distractions (through our ever-connected lives) can have a measurable negative effect on our ability to think and focus productively.

“‘The possibility of intellectual decay is inherent in the malleability of our brains.’ And the internet ‘delivers precisely the kind of sensory and cognitive stimuli – repetitive, intensive, interactive, addictive – that have been shown to result in strong and rapid alterations in brain circuits and functions’. He quotes the brain scientist Michael Merzenich, a pioneer of neuroplasticity and the man behind the monkey experiments in the 1960s, to the effect that the brain can be ‘massively remodelled’ by exposure to the internet and online tools like Google.”

LRB · Jim Holt · Smarter, Happier, More Productive: ‘The Shallows’

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