Originally published February 14 2014
Twitter, Facebook really do make people stupid, says science
by Julie Wilson
(NaturalNews) 2014 exists in an era when technology allows us to instantaneously access vast amounts of information; however, this advancement has apparently caused our intellect to dwindle, resulting in a population of people unable to think analytically.
A recent study conducted by Dr. lyad Rahwan, an honorary at the University of Edinburgh, revealed frequenters of social network sites like Twitter and Facebook, have difficulty thinking critically and independently.
Dr. Rahwan's study consisted of a group of 20 individuals whom he asked three trick questions repeatedly.
"For example they were told that a bat and ball cost 1.10 [British pounds (GBP)] in total and that the bat cost 1 [GBP] more than the ball, and then they were asked to work out how much the ball costs," reported the Daily Mail.
"The intuitive answer is 10p but the correct answer is actually 5p."
The test subjects stuck to their original answers even after being questioned repeatedly. Then the doctor provided the same questions to a second group, this time allowing them to first answer individually and then answer together in a group where they could see each others' responses. It became apparent when one subject achieved the correct answer. Soon the other group members followed suit, immediately changing their answers to the correct one.
Surprisingly, the group did no better when asked the second or third questions, leaving Dr. Rahwan surprised and able to suggest that the subjects were "copying the answers without putting any real thought into what they were doing."
In other words, as usual, the sheep were simply following the other sheep.
"We think people are unwilling to reflect more because it takes time and effort and in daily life we don't have the luxury of time to verify everything," commented Dr. Rahwan.
It turns out that immediate access to endless amounts of information is actually inhibiting our thought processes instead of adding to it. Researchers call it "superficial intelligence" and an encourager of relying on others' opinions.
Information sharing among social media websites also tends to make us just plain lazy and prohibits individuals from forming their own opinions when they can easily access the opinions of others and simply blend in.
Dr. Rahwan points out that this almost naive absorption of information leaves us more susceptible to believing "dangerous" or untrue information, such as government propaganda or lies that corporations tell in order to sell you their products.
Other studies indicate that people are more capable of remembering where to search for information on Google than using their brains to store information.
While advances in technology provide us with many pleasures that most of us cannot live without, it also introduces a plethora of possibilities that we should fear.
For example, a newly developed, but so far unapproved, app allows Google Glass wearers to access one's information by simply looking at them. That's right, with the help of facial recognition, the Google Glass app called NameTag is able to pull up information such as your social media profile, name, address, photos, and even your criminal history by simply looking at you and scanning your face.
The image is sent wirelessly to a server where it's compared with millions of records and can return a match in a matter of seconds. This "innovation" instantly breaks the barriers of privacy, exposing your innermost personal information, like your dating profile, right in front of your face.
The app creators say the only way to escape this horrific invasion of privacy is to sign up on their website and opt out at FacialNetwork.com. The site already has nearly 2 million registered entries.
NameTag creator defends the app, saying, "It's not about invading anyone's privacy" but allowing us to be interconnected and translating a big "anonymous world" into a small, friendly town.
As far as being forced to interact with one another like it's just a small, friendly town, it's safe to assume that most people would like to be in control of who they interact and share information with; after all, not everyone is friendly.
Luckily, the app is currently banned by Google.
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