reports that some of our society's most prized
gadgets are actually making us dumber.
I believe it.
The list of "dumbing down" gadgets include smart phones, calculators, spell check, gps devices, and search engines.
For example, lets look at the calculator.
Now, when I was in school (way back in the day) calculators were strictly verboten. If we were caught using a calculator, it was considered cheating.
Our teachers often told us, "What would happen if you had to answer a math problem and you didn't have a calculator?" We were required to
understand the math process, to know how to work the problem "long hand"...then we learned how to use the calculator.
Now calculators are everywhere, and I've actually found myself having to stop and think a moment to recall a basic multiplication fact. 7 x 8? No
calculator? Gotta give me a minute.....
The Internet puts at our fingertips the single greatest archive of information ever assembled in human history. Having that volume of information
available has affected our focus, and is leading us to increasingly become unfocused and superficial thinkers, according to research.
This constant distraction changes the way we think by encouraging information to be little more than a fleeting short-term memory. Instead of
retaining new details, our brains process the info and move on to the next tidbit.
Not much to say here...the quote speaks for itself.
There's no definitive research that indicates that smart phones are making us dumber....but there's no doubt they contribute to the same issues as
the search engine problem. Since our smart phones usurp short term memory and processing speed, what will be their long term effect? No one knows
yet, it seems.
Spell Check: My Personal Demon
But auto correct is not helping us. It's been shown to affect the ability of adults to correctly spell words consistently, according to a study of
2,000 adults reported in BBC News.
The upside is that the same survey found that 96 percent of adults claimed proper spelling was important.
Since I've been using a computer and other technology that automatically corrects my misspelled words (or substitutes other words in their place,
much to my embarrassment), my spelling ability has definitely suffered.
As a teacher, this can be quite embarrassing, but since I teach first grade, most of the kids don't notice when I goof a word like photosynthesis.
When they DO notice, they get kudos from me.
Anyone else noticing a decline in spelling ability since the advent of spell check?
Finally, and I find this the most interesting assertion of all.... apparently multi-tasking is making us dumber as well.
A study published in 2010 by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London found that multitasking caused a greater decrease in IQ than
smoking (illegal substance), as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
Eleven hundred workers at a British company participated in the research, which also found that sleep-deprived employees were more intelligent than
their multitasking peers.
Multitasking reportedly temporarily reduced the IQ of the study participants by 10 points. Women, however, proved better able to multitask than men.
Still, however, the loss in IQ points was on average three times greater than those (smoking illegal substance)..
(words replaced to stay with T&C)
So there you have it, my friends....could our gadgets actually make us dumber? What do you think?