Thanks to UCLA, I just got a copy of the UCLA fMRI study of what happens to people’s brains when they use Google. This is fascinating..well..it is if you live in my skull.
The study was done by Dr. Gary Small, Dr. Susan Bookheimer and Dr. Teena Moody. Just got it so I haven’t had a chance to read through it, but I’m looking forward to it. As chance would have it, I just finished Gary Small’s book – iBrain – last night. The most interesting part of the book was references to several fMRI studies done around the world, showing what parts of the brain fire in given situations and while we’re undertaking different tasks. When it comes to searching, I have my own theories..which I talked about here and in my Search Insider Column. I’d like to see if the UCLA results match up.
Small’s discussion of Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants is really interesting as well, and something I want to take a much deeper dive on in future posts and articles. Briefly, natives grew up with technology, so their brain basically molded itself with hard wired capabilities, while immigrants learned their tech skills after the brain had largely formed itself. Think of the difference between growing up with a language and learning it as an adult. Digital natives are fluent in technology..for the rest of us, it will never be our native tongue. Small does make one serious transgression in the discussion which drove me nuts. He keeps swapping out neuroplasticity for the word “evolution”, giving the impression (which he never bothers to clear up) that genetic evolution can happen in one generation. It just doesn’t work that way.
That said, it’s pretty fascinating research and a question that seems to be of interest to many. I did a Search Engine Land article on it called “Are Our Brains Becoming Googlized” which picked up a healthy number of Diggs and became one of Search Engine Land’s most read articles. I’m trying to land an interview with one of the researchers. If successful, I’ll let you know how to access.
I’m very happy in my own nerdy little neuro-world!