by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 3rd 2009 12:20am
There's a new study out that is leading to headlines claiming: Is Technology Producing a Decline in Critical Thinking and Analysis? Of course, the details don't match up with that claim at all. Basically, the report seems to say that being distracted makes it harder to remember what you're hearing/seeing. Well... duh. I don't think anyone needs a study to prove that. But, there are some logical leaps taken from that to say that because technology allows for more distractions and because remembering what you're hearing is important in critical thinking... technology harms critical thinking. That seems like quite a stretch. Also, some of the assumptions made by the professor seem a bit off. For example, she notes that reading for pleasure has declined in recent decades -- but a recent report found exactly the opposite. She also repeats some of the claims about violent video games -- concerning building up aggression and a desensitization to violence. But, again, the actual details on those studies show a "well... duh" recognition as well. Yes, those games make you more aggressive and desensitized to violence in the game, but there's little evidence that this leads to any actual impact outside the game.
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