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Commenting on Edge, Banaji noted that instead of changing the way she thinks, "…what the internet has surely done is to change what I think about, what I know, and what I do" (n.p). Others with dissenting views include Bavelier and Green. While analyzing two books highlighting the effect browsing has on the human brain, the two authors point out that some of the studies carried out so far are not in a way conclusive as in seeking to point out the changes occurring in the brain, the positions they take are not reliable (38). Indeed, the authors in this case note that conclusions in such studies are largely determined by the values of the author. Hence while one author could consider such changes positive, another one could still regard the same as being negative. With than in mind, the authors conclude that "history suggests that technology does not change the brain's fundamental abilities" (Bavelier and Green 38). It is also prudent to note that some studies have indeed shown that increased computer use has a positive impact on cognition. One such study was carried out by Patricia Tun and Margie Lachman. According to their findings, "frequent computer use is associated with better overall cognitive performance across adulthood, from younger adults through middle-aged and older adults" (Tun and Lachman 565). However, this is not to say that the ideas floated by others like Carr should be dismissed. Indeed, as Naughton notes, dismissing the concerns of Carr as yet another instance of moral panic is easy (n.p). Such dismissal as the author notes is common anytime there is "the arrival of a new communications technology" (Naughton n.p). The validity of Carr's fears and that of others like him who are also concerned of the impact the internet has on our thinking can be verified through undertaking more intensive research on the subject.
As I have already pointed out elsewhere in this text, the amount of research done on the impact constant usage of the internet has on the human brain is so far still insufficient. This perhaps explains the reason why Carr's book became such a hit. Indeed, as Small et al. note, earlier research studies seem to have concentrated more on how video games and other computer related activities affect the brains of children and young adults (117). Further, the authors point out that some of the areas research studies have avoided so far include the functioning of the brain when browsing using a search engine and the differences in the level of brain activation between those who are used to browsing and those considered internet novices (Small et al. 117). With that in mind, this clearly remains a ripe area for future research. This is more so the case if the concerns raised by Bavelier and Green are genuine.
In conclusion, it can be noted that though we may not entirely agree with Carr's assertions and those of others like him, what remains clear is the fact that we are becoming increasingly dependent on the internet for information. This definitely comes at a cost. Though researchers are not in agreement over the exact effects of prolonged exposure to the internet and the changes the same occasions in the human brain, individuals like Carr who have taken time to research on the issue have presented their argument in a rather convincing and logical manner. While such researchers clearly highlight the impact of the internet on the attention span and level of concentration amongst other things, more studies may still have to be undertaken to highlight the impact the internet has on cognition and other aspects of brain activity.
Banaji, Mahzarin. "How is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?" Edge. John Brockman, 2010. Web. 24 April 2012.
Bavelier, Daphne and Shawn Green. "Browsing and the Brain" University of Wisconsin. Macmillan Publishers Limited, 3 Feb. 2011. Web. 24 April 2012.
Carr, Nicholas. "How the Internet is making us Stupid." The Telegraph 27 Aug. 2010: n. pag. Web. 23 April 2012.
GreenBlatt, Alan. "Impact of Internet on Thinking." CQ Researcher 20.33 (Sept. 24, 2010): 773-796. Print.
Horstman, Judith. The Scientific American Brave New Brain. San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons. 2010. Print.
Kamel, Sherif. Managing Globally With Information Technology. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Inc. (IGI) 2003. Print.
Kittelson, Mary Lynn. The Soul of Popular Culture: Looking at Contemporary Heroes, Myths, and Monsters. Illinois: Open Court Publishing, 1998. Print.
Naughton, John. "The Internet: Is it Changing the Way We Think?" The Guardian/the Observer 15 Aug 2010: n. pag. Web. 23 April 2012.
Small, Gary W., Teena D. Moody, Prabha Siddarth and Susan Y. Bookheimer. "Your Brain on Google: Patterns of Cerebral Activation During Internet Searching." Am J. Geriatr Psychiatry 17.2 (2009): 116-126. Print.
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