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July 20, 2014 | by  | in News |
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Google Is Frying Our Brains

If you’re reading this online, you’re probably on Facebook at the same time and, chances are, you won’t remember it tomorrow.

Victoria Associate Professor Dr Val Hooper and Master’s student Channa Herath looked at online and offline reading for their study ‘Is Google Making Us Stupid? The Impact of the Internet on Reading Behaviour’.

According to the study, online reading was discovered to have a negative overall impact on an individual’s cognition and reading behaviour.

The study found that an individual’s concentration, comprehension, absorption and recall rates were much lower when reading online material as opposed to reading traditional material.

Dr Hooper discovered that “multitasking when reading online was common” with the constant interruptions and distractions provided by emails, video clips and hyperlinks.

Furthermore, the study revealed that people preferred to print out important material, as they were “more likely to remember material they had read offline.”

Despite this, however, online reading was discovered to have a positive impact on reading behaviour, with individuals acquiring the skills necessary to read faster and more selectively – and as a result, getting through a larger quantity of material.

Overall, the study highlighted the “need to learn how to read and write digitally, as well as how to effectively interpret and retain the information we read.”

According to Dr Hooper, this process could “take at least a generation for significant change to happen.”

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