Research

Status quo, how it evolved, and where to go from here.


Distraction and addiction

The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains

There's nothing wrong with absorbing information quickly and in bits and pieces. We've always skimmed newspapers more than we've read them, and we routinely run our eyes over books and magazines to get the gist of a piece of writing and decide whether it warrants more thorough reading. The ability to scan and browse is as important as the ability to read deeply and think attentively. The problem is that skimming is becoming our dominant mode of thought. Once a means to an end, a way to identify information for further study, it's becoming an end in itself -- our preferred method of both learning and analysis. Dazzled by the Net's treasures, we are blind to the damage we may be doing to our intellectual lives and even our culture.[1]

Brain, Interrupted: A Focus on Distraction

In most situations, the person juggling e-mail, text messaging, Facebook and a meeting is really doing something called "rapid toggling between tasks," and is engaged in constant context switching. As economics students know, switching involves costs.[2]

The effects of text, audio, video, and in-person communication on bonding between friends

The greatest bonding during in-person interaction, followed by video chat, audio chat, and IM in that order. Compared with other participants, those who used video chat more frequently reported greater bonding with friends through video chat in our study. Compared with other participants, those who spoke on the phone more frequently with their participating friend reported greater bonding during audio chat. Use of textual affiliation cues like emoticons, typed laughter, and excessive letter capitalization during IM related to increased bonding experience during IM. Nonetheless, a significantly lower level of bonding was experienced in IM compared with in-person communication.[3]

Student "addiction" to technology "similar to drug cravings," study finds

Students talked about _"how scary it was, how addicted they were," she said. "They expected the frustration. But they didn't expect to have the psychological effects, to be lonely, to be panicked, the anxiety, literally heart palpitations."[4]

Is technology producing a decline in critical thinking and analysis?

"By using more visual media, students will process information better," she said. "However, most visual media are real-time media that do not allow time for reflection, analysis or imagination -- those do not get developed by real-time media such as television or video games. Technology is not a panacea in education, because of the skills that are being lost."

"Studies show that reading develops imagination, induction, reflection and critical thinking, as well as vocabulary," Greenfield said. "Reading for pleasure is the key to developing these skills. Students today have more visual literacy and less print literacy. Many students do not read for pleasure and have not for decades."[5]


References:

  1. http://www.wired.com/2010/05/ff_nicholas_carr/all/1 
  2. http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/opinion/sunday/a-focus-on-distraction.html 
  3. http://www.cyberpsychology.eu/view.php?cisloclanku=2013071101 
  4. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8436831/Student-addiction-to-technology-similar-to-drug-cravings-study-finds.html 
  5. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/is-technology-producing-a-decline-79127