Impact of the Internet on Thinking

September 24, 2010 • Volume 20, Issue 33
Is the Web changing the way we think?
By Alan Greenblatt


Manhattan's Fifth Avenue women (AFP/Getty Images/Emmanuel Dunand)
At the Apple store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue women compare the iPhone 3 (left) and new iPhone 4, which boasts video chat and high-definition video. As consumers embrace emerging Internet technology, some researchers worry it is changing the way people think. (AFP/Getty Images/Emmanuel Dunand)

Due to the growing dominance of the Internet as the primary medium for commerce, entertainment and social communications, Americans are using more electronic media than ever. Some worry that the Internet, with its visual stimulation and constant distractions, is altering the way we think — and not for the better. Some studies indicate that it may alter physical mechanics of the brain that lead to long-term memory formation. And China and South Korea have declared “Internet addiction” a primary public health concern. But every new medium that comes on the scene has elicited similar fears about ill effects on popular taste and capacity for reflection and deep thinking. Still, there's no question that the Internet is having profound effects on our lives — perhaps as great as any technological change since the advent of the printing press.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Feb. 28, 2020  Cyberwarfare
Apr. 20, 2018  Technology Addiction
Oct. 06, 2017  Cyberwarfare Threat
Feb. 26, 2016  Virtual Reality
Feb. 12, 2016  Video Games and Learning
Jan. 15, 2016  The Dark Web
Feb. 15, 2013  Improving Cybersecurity
Apr. 13, 2012  Internet Regulation
Sep. 16, 2011  Computer Hacking
Sep. 24, 2010  Impact of the Internet on Thinking
Feb. 26, 2010  Cybersecurity
Aug. 01, 2008  Internet Accuracy
May 02, 2008  Cyberbullying
Jul. 28, 2006  Cyber Socializing
May 12, 2006  Controlling the Internet
Jun. 10, 2005  Identity Theft
Sep. 17, 2004  Cyberpolitics
Sep. 26, 2003  Cybersecurity
Apr. 12, 2002  Cyber-Crime
Oct. 27, 2000  Computers and Medicine
May 26, 2000  Future of Computers
Jan. 28, 2000  The Digital Divide
Feb. 05, 1999  Digital Commerce
Jun. 30, 1995  Regulating the Internet
May 21, 1993  Software Piracy
Sep. 30, 1988  Management's High-Tech Challenge
Jan. 09, 1987  Power Surge in Personal Computers
Feb. 13, 1981  The Computer Age
Nov. 03, 1978  America's Information Boom
Jan. 06, 1978  Computer Crime
May 12, 1971  Reappraisal of Computers
Jul. 25, 1962  Approach to Thinking Machines
Internet and Social Media