Book Review: The Shallows

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

excerpt:

But Mr. Carr shows that we're paying a price for plugging in. Many studies "point to the same conclusion," he writes. "When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning."

Mr. Carr calls the Web "a technology of forgetfulness." The average Web page entices us with an array of embedded links to other pages, which countless users pursue even while under constant bombardment from email, RSS, Twitter and Facebook accounts. As a result, we skim Web pages and skip quickly from one to another. We read in what is called an "F" pattern: After taking in the first two lines of a text, we zip straight down the rest of the page. We lose the ability to transfer knowledge from short-term "working" memory to long-term memory, where it can shape our worldviews in enduring ways.

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