The human brain is evolving rapidly and is malleable in both adults and children - especially young children. Tendencies toward ADD or ADHD can be enhanced/exaggerated by computer use and TV, especially before the age of two (p. 64). It is suggested that this can cause ADD (p. 66)
The high tech revolution has led to a state of "continuous partial attention" - different from multitasking where there are specific objectives - scanning for things or contacts that may be of interest. (p.18)
The large amounts of time spent on computers and video gaming is "stunting frontal lobe development" potentially leading to "an immature and self-absorbed emotional level" (p. 32) More complex games and tasks require the use of the frontal areas. (p. 37)
"However, recent investigations suggest that the intensity of a game's violent graphics, rather than the amount of violent content, may have a greater effect on brain functions and aggressive behavior.? (p. 37)
"As Internet addiction takes hold, the brain's executive region, known as the anterior cingulate loses ground. This is an area in the front part of the brain that is responsible for decision making and judgment." (p. 49)
"But for individuals at risk for addiction, the computer and Internet can provide a false sense of control. ... Computer users report feeling a sense of liberation and anonymity online ... [and] from making up false personalities." (p. 51)
"Part of what makes email so addictive is that it follows the rules of operant conditioning, which means that the behavior is shaped by its consequences. When you check email you get intermittent positive responses" (p. 54)
"Many people are replacing depth and subtlety in their thinking with quick mental facts that may only skim the surface. The clutter, noise, and frequent interruptions that assail us further fuel this frenetic cognitive style." (P. 67)
"Some professionals argue that ADHD is not truly a diagnostic disorder but rather the brain's adaptation to its perpetual exposure to multiple bits of information delivered through today's fast-paced technology." (p. 67)
Multitasking - "Switching back and forth between the two tasks... may decrease brain efficiency by as much as 50 percent, compared with separately completing one task before starting another." (p. 68)
"time spent chatting with friends was associated with higher scores on memory tests. ... The interactive give and take qualities of everyday conversation appear to provide greater stimulation for our neural circuitry than mentally stimulating yet passive activities like reading or watching a sitcom rerun. ... The anonymous and isolated nature of online communication does not provide the feedback that reinforces direct human interaction." (p. 116-117)
"Recent neuroscience points to pathways in the brain that are necessary to hone interpersonal skills, empathic abilities, and effective personal instincts. In Digital Natives who have been raised on technology, these interpersonal pathways are often left unstimulated and underdeveloped. " (p. 119)
"Buddhist monks ... empathy and maternal love. ... It was as if the years of meditation had strengthened the brain connections between thinking (frontal lobe) and feeling (amygdala)." (p. 142)
"... the anterior prefrontal cortex. This area lets us leave a task, even if it is incomplete, and get back to it later from where we left off. interestingly, this is one of the last parts of the brain to develop in children, as well as the first part of the brain to decline in older people, so it is no surprise that both young children and older adults find multitasking to be a challenge" (p. 159)
- all is not hopeless, the brain is malleable in young and old.
- we can work to develop the brains of both Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. DN need to have more personal interaction experience and DI need more technological skills. Pairing these two types together can potentially help both individuals improve (and appreciate each other more).