Twitter Makes You Dumb

I’m still up and still reading.  I couldn’t let this headline pass, “Twitter Makes You Dumb”.

Um, okay…I’m just going to say that, at best, this has to be a preliminary study.

Why?  Because this same article talks about other ways to keep your neurons firing like suduko, which I play all the time on the subway (new city, still learning and therefore I’ll play a game or listen to a podcast instead of loud music.) I would agree that if anyone spent most of their day thinking in 140 character increments and communicating in Twitter short-hand, they’re in trouble.

However, for me, Twitter connects me to a larger world.  Frequently, I’m linked to interesting articles or blogs that have a lot of content and interesting ideas.  Either there has to be more to the study for me to take it seriously or they need to dig deeper into this conclusion because it’s going to differ depending on how someone uses Twitter.

Twitter makes you dumb, says psychologist

Guildford, England – Facebook users can boost their intelligence, while microbloggers are tweeting their brain cells away, says a Scottish scientist.

Spending time on Facebook can boost what Dr Tracy Alloway of the University of Stirling calls ‘working memory’, while using Twitter or watching videos on YouTube requires little use of memory skills and can have a negative effect on intelligence.

Playing video war games and solving Sudoku puzzles can also stimulate memory skills, says Alloway, who claims working memory is more important to success and happiness than IQ. In an eight week study of children aged between 11 and 14, the performance of slow learners saw a significant improvement in literacy and numeracy skills and IQ ratings when their working memory was stimulated.

Just feel those braincells dying

”It was a massive effect,” said Alloway, at the British Science Festival at the University of Surrey in Guildford. ”On Twitter you receive an endless stream of information, but it’s also very succinct. You don’t have to process that information and your attention span is being reduced and you’re not engaging your brain and improving nerve connections.”

War games make people use their working memory and keep track of past actions and plan future moves, she claimed, adding that there was evidence linking watching large amounts of TV with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and extensive texting with lower IQ scores.

Sudoku was also good exercise for memory skills, as was keeping track of friends on Facebook, but the instant nature of texting, Tweeting or watching YouTube was not good for stimulating working memory.

What do you think?


4 Responses to Twitter Makes You Dumb

  1. Sudoku says:

    I dont know, in a way using your brain and being creative is a good thing.

    I like to solve sudoku since i can remeber. IT is aswome and fun. Some friends tell me they do like it, cause they are lazy.

    A sudoku a day, makes the DR go away!

  2. Regina Walton says:

    Her point is that Twitter and video don’t challenge your brain in some ways that it ought to be challenged. So is your counterpoint that Twitter and YouTube engage people to be creative? Maybe Twitter does because you’ve got to say what you need to say in 140 characters, but YouTube is like a whole lot of TV. However, both the article and I agree Sudoku is great. Whatever your message, you’ve got a link back to your site!

  3. Sudoku is a real brain challenger compared to twitter.

  4. Regina Walton says:

    You’re 100% right and that was my point. If people are ONLY doing Twitter, which I really want to hope they’re not, then okay they’re probably not the brightest. However, if they fit the profile of a typical net user, they’re probably both smarter, better educated and even more financially well off than those that don’t use the net. That’s why I say the study has to break it down a bit more because Twitter isn’t making me dumb. (At least, I hope not and that balancing it out with Sudoku helps ;)).

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