How Google Rewires the Way We Think

Image Source: Search Engine Land (c)

Image Source: Search Engine Land (c)

The word google is virtually nonexistent — until the recent years. For the most part, Google has become a household name and changed the way we look for information.

Google is a recognized powerhouse that has taken search to a whole new level. From Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome and now Alphabet, Google has broken limits and developed products like driverless cars and surgical robots all in the name of reinforcing quality of life.

What started in 1998, this major search engine had anticipated the needs of the user by adding searches online depending on the relevance of the query.

The core of this is the length of the list. Google is home to massive information one can ever imagine. Now, everything you need to know about the world is within the touch of your fingertips.

How Does Search Engine Affect the Way We Think?

Professor of Psychiatry in UCLA Gary Small conducted a study on the fall of 2006. Small and his wife were writing a book on how Internet changes the way the brain function hit them that no one has ever conducted a study on this. And this is the starting point of the study.

Small took 24 subject: 12 participants use search engines while the other 12 rarely uses them. MRI results showed that the brain lights up whenever searches are done. According to Small’s findings, the brain’s activity increased the fields of vision, decision making and complex reasoning. The more experienced users showed twice as much brain activity suggesting that the brain reacts strongly to searches.

On the flipside, other studies have also showed that people often overestimate their intelligence who use Google for searching. People who read online are likely to skim than internalize the information.

The brain is flexible and set to seek out information. The Internet is like an ‘all you can eat buffet’ that you can’t help but divulge in this massive information load. And for the decade now, this has been the case.

In 1998, Google used to hit 9,800 searches a day. By 2014, this has ballooned to 5.7 billion, making research not just an option but a means to encounter new information.

In another study, Small conducted a research on the effects of technology deprivation. In a recent study, he used a group of sixth-grade students who were ‘deprived’ from technology in the woods. During this period, these students were forced to interact with each other. Results showed better social and emotional intelligence after the retreat.

The good thing is that we can always go back. Though we live in a digital world where everything is instant, our brain can still be ‘rewired’ back.


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