Study: Google Makes Your Smarter

The web can be divided into two people. Those that say Google is making us dumber, and those that believe Google is making us smarter.

Dumb-proponents say that we’ve become lazy. Instead of remembering long addresses and phone numbers, obscure facts about ancient Rome, or even making the attempt to spell properly, we now rely on Google to do the work for us.

The result (they say) is the slow deterioration of our brains, and a bizarre urge to vote for Sarah Palin.

But now, a new study from UCLA has discovered “searching the internet may help stimulate the brain of middle-aged and older adults beyond the benefits of reading alone.”

In the study, 24 healthy volunteers between the ages of 55 and 76 had their brains scanned while they read books or searched the web.

All participants showed significant brain activity while reading a book, which showed they were using areas in the temporal, parietal, occipital lobes and other areas that control language, reading, memory and visual ability.

But experienced internet users also showed a two-fold increase in brain activity, including areas in the frontal and temporal lobes and cingulate cortex that control decision-making and complex reasoning.

There you have it. Far from dumbing us down, Google has freed our mental processes from the tedious tasks that it can be performed faster, and allowed us to focus on subjects that matter – like blogging.

Mashable sums it up best:

…in the traditional education sense, we’re getting stupider, at least with certain types of tasks. However, we’ve learned to do something else. We’ve learned how to use Google to get information. It sounds like an evolutionary step, a natural progression.

Instead of using your brain, you’re using something else – something that works faster and easier. It will be interesting to see how this – if it keeps up, and my bet is that it will – will affect our ability to think in the future.

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