What is happening to our brains on the internet? Social dreaming and PTSD in the military: Tuesday news and blogs

Speculation on what is happening to our brains on the internet:

  • Does the Internet Make You Dumber? The cognitive effects are measurable: We’re turning into shallow thinkers, says Nicholas Carr. — WSJ– The Roman philosopher Seneca may have put it best 2,000 years ago: “To be everywhere is to be nowhere.” Today, the Internet grants us easy access to unprecedented amounts of information. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the Net, with its constant distractions and interruptions, is also turning us into scattered and superficial thinkers.
  • Our Cluttered Minds New York Times, book review — It is here that he starts to run into problems. There is little doubt that the Internet is changing our brain. Everything changes our brain. What Carr neglects to mention, however, is that the preponderance of scientific evidence suggests that the Internet and related technologies are actually good for the mind. For instance, a comprehensive 2009 review of studies published on the cognitive effects of video games found that gaming led to significant improvements in performance on various cognitive tasks, from visual perception to sustained attention. This surprising result led the scientists to propose that even simple computer games like Tetris can lead to “marked increases in the speed of information processing.” One particularly influential study, published in Nature in 2003, demonstrated that after just 10 days of playing Medal of Honor, a violent first-person shooter game, subjects showed dramatic increases in visual attention and memory.

And other reading:

  • The social dreaming experiment | Alison Flood | Books | guardian.co.uk — Two therapists believe that sharing our dreams can help make society less violent. Are they away with the fairies?
  • t r u t h o u t | PTSD Soldier Punished by Army — Iraq war veteran Eric Jasinski, after seeking treatment for his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is being punished by the Army. — Jasinski turned himself in to the Army late last year, after having gone absent without leave (AWOL) in order to seek help for his PTSD. Help, he told Truthout, he was not receiving from the Army, even after requesting assistance on multiple occasions.

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