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In his book, The Shallows, blog writer Nicholas Carr shares his view on how internet use in the modern age is effectively limiting the cognitive capacities of the current generation plus future generations to come. Inferring from just the title of his book, The Shallows, Nicholas Carr depicts a world whose reading habits barely graze the surface of content and rarely plunge deeper than the superficial levels of reading we are so accustomed to in our current digital age.

In contrast to some popular research findings that internet use and digital immersion is in fact beneficial for the human brain (refining and full globalization of cerebral brain networks), this books implications, that the developed digital brains of tech users are far less likely to be sufficient for embracing and excelling in today's modern society... seems a bit prematurely exaggerated.

Though his proclamations are specific and sometimes a little thought provoking, it's silly to make claims that digital reading is sub par based on the declaration that a digital book lacks spacial navigability that one would get from print literature (page numbers in a book). In other words, the heft of pages read on the left side of the book and the pages not read on the right side of a book, somehow gives aid to overall understanding... "location cues"

To say that ones comprehension is impeded because there is no heft of pages on the left of the book which would indicate how much of the book is completed, is a bit overly obtuse.

Moreover, the authors claims that the presence of hyperlink's in digital text work as a distraction and can take away from the immersive experience one would expect from a printed book, hence 'should I click this link or not' falters the reading experience. Again, such silly arguments insinuate digital reading is sub par, however, what of those who simply ignore the hyperlinks? They can continue reading on their own accord and just because there is one link in an article, does not mean apprehension has suffered.

A big part of being a digital native is dealing with multi-tasking, which is paramount in today's technological age. Checking emails, following hyperlinks, dividing attention among social media, smart phones, and family obligations are all familiar to today's fast paced human brain. This rapid altering of attention among different tasks, Carr states is also a cause of distraction and jumpy brains, which takes away from the concentration one must develop to immerse themselves in prolonged reading of good literature.

My take away is... multitask to your hearts content, be rapid in your attention shifts and focus for as long or as short as you want.

Just don't allow other parts of your brain that are developed for slow immersive learning, atrophy. 

Be a multi-tasker. But also, train your brain to read for sustained periods of time and achieve the deep comprehension afforded by societies original medium, print literature.

My next book review will be on Smarter Than you Think: How technology is changing our minds for the better, by  Clive Thompson. This book will demonstrate the opposing view, and is more in line with what I think technology does to the human brain. 


Edited by Marzshox
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