STUDY: The Internet Is Turning You Into an Idiot

A new study suggests that the Internet is making you stupid.

Researchers have established that spending lots of time on the internet decays your brain and makes it harder for you to retain new knowledge. The reason your brain is becoming worse and worse at comprehending and saving, though, isn't because of the stuff you read. It's because the hyperlinks you see in almost every piece of writing you read online is forcing your brain out of reading mode and into decision mode. So everytime you see a link in a different color you are forced to ask yourself whether you want to click or not. The good news is that this might keep us smarter for longer periods of our lives. But, as Fortune asserts, the downside is that getting "lost" in the information you're taking in is much harder. Ironically, you've now have more access to more information than you've had before, but the same medium that provides it is making it harder and harder for you to retain that information. From Fortune:

When you read a book, you comprehend more. According to a study in the Journal of Digital Information, those who read documents with hypertext didn’t retain as much information as those who read text without links. Indeed, book reading is under stimulating. That is a good thing because your brain can transfer this information from your “working memory” to “long-term memory.” Neuroscientists have discovered that long-term memory isn’t just where you store random facts, but “schemas” that help you organize thoughts and concepts. But there is only so much you can transfer into your long-term memory at once, what scientists call the “cognitive load.”

So does that mean you should stop using the internet? It may sound ideal, but the reality is you just need to read more and browse less. That's because when you're focuses on a book you're taking in a continuous stream of information from one source. However, when you're reading online, you're getting your information for a lot of sources, breaking that information down, and turning words and ideas into "data".

What do you think? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below!