24 April 2005

Email Destroys The Mind

Quote for the day:

"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
English Statesman

While wandering through Google's new mapping/satellite service this morning looking for a way to put a satellite shot of my little valley's locale on Planet Earth on my blog, this article from ‘The Register’ in the UK caught my attention. Also afforded the opportunity to procrastinate on the map stuff…lol.


Email destroys the mind faster than marijuana - study
Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco Published Friday 22nd April 2005 09:10 GMT

Modern technology depletes human cognitive abilities more rapidly than drugs, according to a psychiatric study conducted at
King's College, London. And the curse of 'messaging' is to blame.

Email users suffered a 10 per cent drop in IQ scores, more than twice the fall recorded by marijuana users, in a clinical trial of over a thousand participants. Doziness, lethargy and an inability to focus are classic characteristics of a spliffhead, but email users exhibited these particular symptoms to a "startling" degree, according to Dr Glenn Wilson.

The deterioration in mental capacity was the direct result of the trialists' addiction to technology, researchers discovered.

Email addicts were bombarded by context switches and developed an inability to distinguish between trivial and significant messages. Incredibly, 20 per cent of trialists jeopardized their immediate social relations by rushing off to "check their messages" in the middle of a conversation.

Wilson's research is no flash in the pan. Computer technology in its modern, "interconnected" form is dumbing down the population more rapidly than television.

A study of 100,000 school children in over 30 countries around the world testified that non-computer using kids performed better in literacy and numeracy schools than PC-using children. Education experts have dubbed it the "problem solving deficit disorder".

Awash with facts,
we've forgotten how to think.

King's College's pioneering study focused solely on messaging - but there are many other emerging technologies that could be dumbing down technologies too, and their consequences haven't been fully explored.

We look forward to studies that examine the IQ lossage involved in the many other unavoidable parts of everyday life. Chores such as editing the Windows Registry (-2), writing a weblog (-15), or reading the Ask Jack column in The Guardian (-175). ®



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