There is certainly evidence to suggest that using Google will in fact use more of your brain and encourage more thinking than just reading print. The more you become comfortable in searches the more you interact and stimulate more areas of your brain. Dr. Moody is clear to point out that we shouldn’t assume it is just Google because she wants to research more about this:
“Now there are two different schools of thought on this. One is that when you first learn a task, you require greater activity and more attention, and that one could expect higher levels of activity if you were new at something. People with expertise can actually show decreases in their functional MRI pattern of activity. But what it seems here is that while engaging in internet searching, you are still very actively engaging these decision-making areas and it might be that the naive people are overwhelmed by the situation and are just treating it like a book – you’re still not trying to integrate the information, they’re reading it as though they were reading a book.
There’s one other interpretation as well, and that is that internet-naive people just have a different pattern of wiring in their brains from those who are internet-savvy – people who prefer using the internet and enjoy that mode of reading are wired differently from the internet-naive people. And we can’t distinguish that in this study, but that is also a possibility.”
There is also research going to to discover exactly what is happening with children and young adults who are always doing searches, playing games and living in a digital, interactive world. As Dr. Moody points out, rewiring the brain can sound alarming but it is, in fact how we learn.
I have certainly been developing my Google brains since the advent of the Adelaide storms last week and the electricity pylon collapses. Someone credible said we had pylon collapses in the 70s or early 80s. I cannot seem to find a reference. Google is set up to cover current and topical information first so with this search I had to put -Westgate because there are bridge pylons too. I had to put -Adelaide and -storms because we have had so much news and social media coverage from the storms and then I have had -Bougainville because there is so much to do with powers pylons there. I have found no reference to collapsed pylons before in Adelaide. It means I am using the wrong words. I put power pylons in inverted commas so that those words would be together. I can try electricity pylons in inverted commas. I have said before on this blog that one of the things I do is try and break Google. It’s just a game to see if I can baffle Google. The research about the pylons , though, is serious. I actually want to know the answer. It would have been on our news in the late 70s or early 80s so there has to be a reference? I have tried twisted pylons, collapsed pylons, damaged pylons. Nothing. What has been happening as I do it, though, is I am finding out about other things and how to improve my searches. It has been a real thinking exercise.