Is Google making us smarter?

Internet use ‘good for the brain’: In a study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, a team of researchers from UCLA report that “Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function.”

Both reading and searching the web stimulate the regions of the brain controlling language, reading, memory and visual abilities; but web surfing produces significant additional activity in the complex reasoning and decision-making centers of the brain — but only for experienced web users.

Apparently, ferreting out the right links and the most promising paths amongst the mass of information on the web both requires and sustains certain kinds of intelligence.

As the folks at Freakonomics note, this finding doesn’t necessarily refute Nick Carr’s thesis — but it does reinforce the idea that reading and web searching require different kinds of smarts.

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