Last week (June 14, 2017) I received an email from a close friend with a link to an article generated by the North Carolina station of the National Public Radio a month ago. Along with noting that the research process was not what it once was — specifically that I had received a description of a study carried out in India from a psychologist in Israel with a summary of a radio broadcast generated about five miles from my home.
The changes in how we think, process and access information, and communicate change dramatically annually (as well as monthly, weekly, daily even). But is everyone changing how they fit to match our modern world and its information use possibilities?
People of many different income, education, social, and other strata within Indian society took EEGs to study their alpha brain patterns. There were many differences between the way that their brains seemed to work as measured by EEG indicators that could potentially be explained by differences in exposure to different levels and kinds of technologies.
A summary of the work appears here and was written by the University of California, Berkeley, philosopher Alva Noe. Noe discusses how brain wave patterns may have changed as individuals are exposed to the dramatic new information access and processing annually. The original scientific research by DhanyaParameshwaran and Tara C.Thiagarajan appears here. Noe notes that one of the “problems” in our current conceptions of neurocognitive science is that virtually all of the experimental results have been derived from “WEIRD” brains, that is individuals educated in current technologies within western, industrialized, rich democracies. The Indian results suggest that there are different patterns of “NORMAL” brain waves among individual from other backgrounds.
Twitter has almost totally leveled the influence of news and information web sites (and blogs).
I get bombarded all day on Twitter with links to information that looks interesting and valuable in the context of 140 characters. I click on a bunch of these links every day.
I often end up on small web sites with very valuable information about healthcare or glaciers or dogs or social data or food recipes or why I should ditch my diet and receive all of my nutrients from kale. Depending on the day of the week I am assailed with information about a Kardashian or three, the student at Duke paying her tuition by appearing in porn, or the obscenity of Putin’s tanks.
Without the constant bombardment of links I never would have discovered my favorite bloggers (@DrJenGunter, @hansbuskes) or many of the thought provoking liberal “get them GOP idiots” cartoon sites or many of the conservative “get them liberal Dem idiiots” cartoon sites. Without Twitter I would not have paid attention to the consistently great information on the web sites of Scientific American or Discover or Al Jazeera or the BBC or the Association for Psychological Science or the Mayo Clinic or many small regional news outlets including those of more than 100 countries. Without Twitter I would be actively selecting the very few giant media web sites from which I would get my information — the New Yawk elitist times, the la-la optimist times, CNN (the original chicken noodle network), Fox (the we eat chickens network), NBC and ABC and CBS (and the other three and four letter news oligarchies). Without all of the constant links I would not learn about all of the human rights violations worldwide or the most recent breakthroughs in dozens of professional fields (healthcare, medicine, astronomy, physics, nano technology, image processing).
Without Twitter I would probably spend little or no time on the web sites of news organizations based outside the USA or know about Indie films or see great pictures from outer space.
WOW. There are zillions of great information producing web sites out there, many with such small budgets that they could not even afford a print ad in the New York Times.
Along with the testimonials to “a grapefruit saved my life,” the latest zit removal miracle, and unapproved medical therapies, there are diamonds out there that can expand your views greatly. At times there is TOO MUCH INFORMATION but you can’t find the jewels without going into the mine.
Democratization of the world’s information is a great thing.