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VWN Product Reviews: iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind

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Site Shop > iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind




This book, written by a neuroscientist, proposes that use of technology such as social networking, where computer mediation rather than face to face communication is the order of the day, actively changes how our brains process information over time.

As more and more of life involves computer mediation in one form or another, the book argues that our brains will continue to alter to deal with the new world it perceives. It has long been known that the brain?s neural plasticity adapts with time; the more time you devote to a specific activity, the stronger the neural pathways responsible for executing that activity become.

Principal author Dr Gary Small makes the claim early in the book that these differences are likely to be even more profound across generations, because younger people are exposed to more technology from an earlier age than older people. He refers to this as the brain gap. On one side, what he calls digital natives ? those who have never known a world without e-mail and text messaging ? use their superior cognitive abilities to make snap decisions and juggle multiple sources of sensory input. On the other side, digital immigrants?those who witnessed the advent of modern technology long after their brains had been hardwired ? are better at reading facial expressions than they are at navigating cyberspace.


The question this book tries to answer, is how the brain is altered, which regions are strengthened, and which weakened. Study data is used to back up each point.

It then looks into strategies for minimising the change, or adapting to those who have embraced technology, and the ways their brains have changed ? and continue to change ? as a result.

 

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