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Cognitive collapse through Digital Dementia

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We have all encountered people who are so buried in flitting from one inconsequential piece of trivia to another that they lack the focus required to absorb and respond to a full paragraph (or compound sentence) and who have the attention span of a flea. This aberrant cognitive behavior has only been encouraged by everything from limits to 140 character "tweets" posing as communication of thought to the attempt to substitute miniscule screens on the equivalent of touch screen wrist watches for a view showing a reasonable context -- let alone an entire piece of letter-size paper or a whole book.

Now this report:

Some teens in South Korea exhibiting 'digital dementia'

SEOUL, June 26 (UPI) -- Some teens in South Korea are exhibiting what is being described as "digital dementia," or deterioration of thinking and memory, a psychiatrist says.

Psychiatrist Kim Dae-jin at Seoul St. Mary's Hospital recently diagnosed a 15-year-old boy with symptoms of early onset dementia due to intense exposure to digital technology -- television, computer, smartphone and video games -- since age 5. He could not remember the six-digit keypad code to get into his own home and his memory problems were hurting his grades in school.

"His brain's ability to transfer information to long-term memory has been impaired because of his heavy exposure to digital gadgets," the psychiatrist told the Korea JoongAngDaily.com...

"Overuse of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain," said Byun Gi-won, who runs the Balance Brain Center in Seoul, which helps those with cognitive problems related to computers and smartphones...

"The gadgets ease the burden of memorizing tedious information but if we don't use our brain functions, the overall cognitive skills of being aware and perception will ultimately decrease."

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Transportation and other technology has made it possible to be much more physically inactive. Now it is becoming easier to be more cognitively inactive with information just a search away. Perhaps people will have to adjust to cognitive aids as they are having to do with physical aids by doing specific cognitive exercises analogous to going to the gym.

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There is no substitute for conceptual understanding, and focus and attention span. Going to the 'cognitive gym' can't replace understanding and isn't necessary. Proper education is.

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Going to the 'cognitive gym' can't replace understanding and isn't necessary. Proper education is.

But there are certain mental operations that, although useful can become somewhat atrophied due to new technological options. The example in the article is the usage of one's memory - being able to look up facts so easily can make one lazy in this sense diminishing one's ability to remember. Wouldn't specific mental exercises geared towards strengthening these now sometimes optional mental skills be useful?

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first you have to have a body of material TO remember,and that presupposes the desire to accumulate same. :-) I don't see much evidence of that, anymore.

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It's worse than that; there seems to be little desire to understand at all. Why remember if understanding is regarded as unnecessary and 'memory' is no more than database retrieval of disconnected facts? This is the cashing in of range of the moment, anti-conceptual Pragmatism implemented with digital co-processors and memory chips.

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Multitasking Damages Your Brain And Career, New Studies Suggest

You’ve likely heard that multitasking is problematic, but new studies show that it kills your performance and may even damage your brain.

Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers also found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

Full article

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