Gary small, Gigi Vorgan "Brain online. People in the Internet age"
Material posted: Publication date: 27-06-2011

In the first half of July, the publishing house "Foreigner-Hummingbird" goes a popular science book by two American psychiatrists Gary small and Gigi Vorgan "Brain online. People in the Internet age". The authors argue that under the impact of new technologies the human brain changes as radically as in the distant past, when people invented tools. According to the authors, before our eyes in just a few decades is a real evolutionary leap.

1. Natural selection

Evolution essentially means moving from primitive forms to more complex or more developed. When your teenage daughter is learning to download music on your new iPod while sitting at a laptop in the chat, talking on his cell and flipping through her notes, her condition is complicated by brain: neurotransmitters are released from neurons grow dendrites, new synapses. These every day and every moment changes in the brain, with which he adapts to the world around us, in the end will affect the fate of future generations - so we're evolving.

Charles Darwin, one of the most influential thinkers of the nineteenth century, helped us understand how the human body and brain develop through natural selection - a complex interaction of genes with the environment. According to Darwin, is "the preservation of favorable individual differences and destroying harmful". Genes consists of DNA, a detailed blueprint of all living things, determine what we will become - whether we will get blue eyes, brown hair, flexible joints and perfect pitch. Genes are passed down from generation to generation, but the DNA from time to time, mistakes did slip through, they are the same mutation. These errors lead to the emergence of new mental and physical qualities that, in certain circumstances, turn into advantages. For example, the mutation that made one ancient people-hunters just vigilantly, allowed him to see earlier predators and not to lose sight of the game. The Darwinian principle of "survival of the fittest" explains why people with this characteristic were more likely to survive, achieve success and pass on their genes to offspring. Mutations in DNA also explain the astonishing variety of people.

However, the evolution of the brain is determined not only by the task to survive. Most of us living in developed countries, is necessary for existence: housing, grocery store nearby and the phone number 911 for emergency calls. Due to this, the brain can focus on more lofty subjects, like science and art, which, one hopes, allows us to better enjoy life.

From time to time it happens any natural disaster that brings humanity deep shock and stimulating accelerated evolution. According to anthropologist Stanley Ambrose of the University of Illinois, about three hundred thousand years ago, a Neanderthal man is guessed that the bone is sandwiched in the hand, can serve as a primitive hammer. Soon our ancestors realized: if another hand to hold the thing hit, the hammer will be more confusing. Right-handedness (or left-handedness) - the result of this discovery. While one side of the brain improved in the management of, say, the right hand, the other started the evolution of language.

In the brain of modern man is the area that controls the organs of speech (Broca's area), located in the frontal lobe and closely adjacent to the field, operated by hand movements. Out of ten people nine are right - handed, and their Broca's area is located in the left hemisphere, which controls the right side of the body. Lefties have the Broca's area, usually in the right hemisphere. Some of us are Ambidextrous (i.e., without a pronounced asymmetry of the hands), but they go to the camp "lefties" or "righties" when I write or use a tool that requires very precise movements.

The evolution of language and the improvement of the instruments of labour went hand-in-hand, leading not only to the division into left-handers and right-handers. More convenient tools demanded of our ancestors new abilities: keep in mind the complex task and plan the way to solve it. That spear was well in hand and beat without a miss, you need to cut the pole, then to make the correct shape of the tip and, finally, to find than to attach one to another. Without planning skills could not appear the language with grammatical structure: on the one hand, you need to associate with each other words and phrases, with the other carefully manage the coordinated movement of facial muscles and muscles of the tongue. It is considered that it accelerated the development of the frontal lobes.

Here is an example of experiments that neuroscientists hold today. A volunteer is placed in a magnetic resonance tomograph, and some kind of task, and the one holding her in the mind, must perform support tasks that bring him to the goal. The tomogram shows the activation of neurons in the anterior frontal lobes. This area probably developed in humans during the emergence of verbal communication and first tools: thanks to him, our ancestors learned to solve the associated problems, not forgetting about the main task. And this is one of the main properties of human thinking.

Evolution of brain and language development continues and now, in the midst of the computer age. Chat and email spawned many new abbreviations and SMS-messages is used and does her own dictionary (see Chapter 8): the key idea is to reduce the number of words and characters typed on the keyboard of a handheld device.

To convey emotion, invent new ingenious combinations of letters or punctuation: LOL (laughing out loud) means "laughed out loud", ":-)" - sign of joy or sympathy. What method of communication we chose the spoken language, conversations, or only emoticons (in common parlance - smiles), and it depends what parts of the brain will be involved. Language - written or oral - is processed by Broca's area in frontal lobes. However, neuroscientists from Denki University in Tokyo found that on the CT volunteers who looked at the emoticons while inside the scanner, flashed right nizalova gyrus - the area that controls our ability to non-verbal communication.


2. Not oirel my brain, honey?

Natural selection literally increased our brain. The last few hundred thousand years, he continuously became complicated, and the size was increased because the brain had adapted to the very difficult behavior: we draw, talk, hammering nails or respond to emails, and for each of these cases requires virtuoso ability to plan. This ability controls the front part of the brain.

As primitive man had mastered the language and tools, brain size increased, in addition, the area has gained specialization. Learning to speak, our ancestors began to join in the group - it was easier to survive the drought and the famine. Identified social roles defined by sex. Men were hunters, and those who stood by vigilance or better oriented in the space (this ability is localized in the right hemisphere) was more successful than the others. The women cared for the children, and it is better managed for those whose language skills (the responsibility of the left hemisphere) were more developed: their children were better trained and had more chances to survive.

Even in our time women are more social creatures than men: they talk about their feelings, whereas men, although they have long ceased to be hunters the polls, remains extremely underdeveloped right-hemisphere abilities - the sense of space and visual perception. For example, many of them, sitting behind the wheel, don't trust GPS.

Newspapers, electricity, telephones, cars and airplanes in the twentieth century, these technological innovations have markedly changed our way of life. Incredible advances in medicine give us such opportunities, which seemed a fantasy just a few decades ago. And today's progress in digital technologies seem to makes our brain to change with a speed impossible before.



Tags: innovation