Vorgan and Small: Your brain is evolving right now

Zachariah James Watson

Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan’s essay discusses how digital technology is altering our brains. That daily exposure to this technology (computers, phones, video games, and search engines like Google and Yahoo) stimulates brain cell alteration and neurotransmitter release, strengthening new neural pathways within our brains while also weakening the old ones. Technology is also altering how we feel, how we behave, and the way our brains are able to function. This evolutionary process has rapidly emerged over a single generation and represents one of the most pivotal advances in human history (DD, 77.)

Vorgan and Small then go on to give more specific examples of how technology has affected our brain chemistry. For instance, scientists at the University of California have concluded that the average American spends nearly three hours each day watching television and movies, if not more. They also address how the younger generations have become accustomed to creating their own social networks and spend more of their time online than they do reading books. In fact, they state that literary reading has declined by at least 28% for 18 to 34 year olds in correlation with online activity.

http://phil343.weebly.com/uploads/3/1/7/9/3179736/your_brain_is_evolving_right_now_-_small_and_vorgan.pdf

http://elearnmag.acm.org/archive.cfm?aid=1966300

http://sites.duke.edu/english109s_02_s2012/2012/02/10/r4-your-brain-is-evolving-right-now/

Discussion Questions:

1) In what ways has technology caused our brains to “evolve?”

2) What are some of the major changes and consequences that this form of “evolution” has lead to?

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