In, "The Internet and Neurobiology," Kazys Varnelis reacts to Nicholas Carr’s Atlantic Monthly article "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" (which I’ll come back to later):
In this article Carr sounds the alarm about how the vast amount of information on the Net and the ease of searching it via Google are changing our ways of thinking, spurring us to replace solitary, deep thought with surface-level grazing for content. Carr’s entirely justifiable fear is that we are less able to process and analyze information these days and more prone for a quick fix, going off to search for the next source of stimulus
Oh, the irony… more:
This article comes at a time in which I’ve been reading a bit about Neuroaesthetics, in particular as developed by Warren Neidich in his essay "The Neurobiopolitics of Global Consciousness" and in the conference proceedings that you can find at Artbrain #4 (also Warren’s site).
There’s likely to be much more about this on the site in the future, but for now, I’d like to observe that what leads me down this path is the suggestion that historical conditions can correspond to neurobiological changes. In other words, that it isn’t just that we’re reading differently as we learn to navigate the net, it’s that as we select for one form of cognitive processing over another we are reprogramming our brains at a fundamental neurobiological level.
In doing so, we support that activity with the tools and environments. These, in turn, pass on the changes in our brains to future generations and affect the conditions they emerge in.
In this light, network culture wouldn’t be merely a cultural condition, it would be a neurobiological state, a plateau in a long, Darwinian evolution of humanity’s cognition…
Worth considering, esp. after Sam Power’s Comment on the same subject in Time a couple of weeks ago.