I read Emily Yoffe’s article ‘Seeking – How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that’s dangerous.’ As humans we are hardwired to seek and search information, whether this be the food, a mate or something to better our understanding of something else. This I totally understand because in my opinion knowledge is power, to understand where something is, how to get it and if necessary how to use it, is a greater power than anything else. Scientists are discovering why there is the need to seek, because we get pleasure from it. Yoffe gives this example:
Ever find yourself sitting down at the computer just for a second to find out what other movie you saw that actress in, only to look up and realize the search has led to an hour of Googling? Thank dopamine.
I wouldn’t necessarily say this has happened to me but I have heard many people say this. The possible answer for this is because you get pleasure from the searching. In the physical world if you search for something you get it and that brings you some form of pleasure too. So you’re hungry? You find food. You eat it. You’re happy. But google gives you an opportunity to keep searching, there isn’t such a good stopping point. Kent Berridge explains that Dopamine ” under certain conditions [it] can lead us to irrational wants, excessive wants we’d be better off without.” This explains why we have this need to keep searching even when we have the answer. It is shown that we gain more pleasure in the anticipation of the reward rather than the reward itself (according to Psychology Today), which could also be a reason why we like to search.
You might be thinking, if it makes you happy what’s the problem? Nicholas Carr suggests that actually it could be making us stupid, in his article Is Google Making Us Stupid? He suggests that because we can get the answer so quickly and easily that when reading books we find ourselves getting bored. This is something he noticed, and when mentioning it to others they found a similar thing. I find it too. I get bored easily and find myself drifting off into a day dream but I am actually still reading but none of the information is going in.Although there is no hard-hitting scientific evidence anecdotal evidence suggests we may be heading in the direction of a problem.
As I think about this I can’t really think of a solution, it just makes me terrified for the future.
All articles, websites and videos that I have used have been linked into this post.