Is the Internet Destroying Your Brain? Try This Test

Yesterday, The New York Times published a piece about how the constant distraction of digital media damages "creativity and deep thought, interrupting work and family life." It's not a new worry. A few years ago, Nicholas Carr wrote a story for the Atlantic called "Is Google Making You Stupid?" and his new book, The Shallows, expands on that theme, arguing that the internet is eroding our capacity for "solitary, single-minded concentration."

So is the internet actually bad for our brains? A handful of bloggers have reported feeling that it's been bad for theirs. But why not find out for yourself? The Times has two interesting cognitive games you can play online that will test how easily distracted you are and how good you are at switching between tasks.

I'm someone who spends my entire working day being distracted by online content, and then creating new chunks of online content designed to distract others. My results are below.

I scored well on the first test. I'm hard to distract. In fact, I had a perfect score when faced with the most distractions.

On the second test, it was a mixed bag. I didn't make a single mistake, but I was really slow.

My own subjective feeling is that the internet has shortened my attention span. If I sit down to read a book at night, it sometimes takes an alarmingly long time for my brain to settle into it. And I have to fight the urge to screw around on my phone on the commute home. Jonah Lehrer, contra Carr, argues that the neuroscientific evidence to back this up is thin.

How did you do on those tests? Have your internet habits affected your mind?

via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

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