Publication Year: 2017
Technology is developing rapidly. It is an essential part of how we live our daily lives–in a mental and physical sense, and in professional and personal environments. Cybercognition explores the ideas of technology addiction, brain training, and much more. This text provides readers with a guide to understanding concepts related to the online world. It answers important questions: • What is the impact of digital technology on our learning, memory, attention, problem-solving, and decision making? • If we continue to use digital technology on a large scale, can it change the way we think? • Can human cognition keep up with technology? Suitable for students on Cyberpsychology and Cognitive Psychology courses at all levels, as well as anyone with an inquiring mind.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Exploring the Concept of Cyberspace
- Chapter 2: The Human Information Processor
- Chapter 3: The Population(s) of Cyberspace
- Chapter 4: Attracting Attention in the Digital Environment
- Chapter 5: Digital Gaming, Brain Training and Cognition
- Chapter 6: Multitasking
- Chapter 7: Task Switching and Digital Technology: The Impact of Interruptions
- Chapter 8: Technology and Education
- Chapter 9: Decision-Making in the Online Environment: Credibility
- Chapter 10: Search Strategies and Heuristics
- Chapter 11: Technology Addictions and Cognition
- Chapter 12: The End: Where Do We Go from Here?
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© Lee Hadlington 2017
First published 2017
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ISBN 978-1-4739-5719-0 (pbk)
Editor: Luke Block
Editorial assistant: Lucy Dang
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Printed in the UK
To Mrs Denise, for all the help with the proof-reading (and the inherent abuse that accompanied it)
To Nadia, for being the most supportive office mate I could ever hope for and the endless supply of chocolate
To my Mom and Dad who never really knew what I was doing, but were always there to support me
To Steph … for being the most valuable baseline for my ramblings and for being there when it all became a little bit too much[Page vi]
About the Authors
Whilst on a research-related jolly to London to visit an organisation I was working with I had the fortune to be standing on a crowded tube, in rush hour with a colleague. In my position as a psychologist and general all-round nosey individual I began to scan the carriage for something that would distract me from (a) the rather noxious smell of perfume, deodorant and old shoes that was inhabiting my nose and (b) my inherent dislike of crowded spaces. A scene that, to this day, I still recount began to catch both my eye and my intellectual curiosity. A mother was standing over a pushchair wilfully transfixed by something on her smartphone. Meanwhile, her daughter sat mesmerised by her mother’s interactions with the aforementioned device, occasionally pausing to quickly scan the environment in front of her to see if there was anything slightly more interesting. When this process failed, the child’s facial expression changed somewhat suddenly, and all of a sudden she began grasping at the air uttering the words, ‘iPad, Mommy … iPad, Mommy’. Sure enough, without actually saying a word and taking her eyes of the smartphone, the mother rummaged around in a jumble of bags that lay behind the pushchair and produced an iPad. Once received the child began to gleefully swipe, shake and poke to her heart’s content while the mother continued on her quest to wear the screen of the smartphone out by the sheer power of staring.
I had previously explored some aspects of human cognition online as part of a funded research project, but my experience on the tube in London started me on a path that resulted in this book. I started to think about the way in which we all seemed to be drifting in a trance-like state in a world that was subsumed by digital technology, and where the interactions I had viewed on the tube were becoming the norm, not the exception. As I started to delve a little deeper into the subject matter, I started to notice more and more how digital technology was impacting on our daily lives. I sat in coffee shops noticing that people were sitting down and automatically taking out their smartphones and placing them on the tables in front of them; on nights out, friends would be more interested in posting the perfect selfie to Facebook than they were in actually engaging in socialisation; couples out for a romantic meal would sit next to each other, often communicating through the medium of WhatsApp to find out what the other was ordering; people walking blindly across roads or into street furniture whilst being preoccupied with posting what they had for breakfast on Twitter. Now before we get into name calling, I do have mates and my name isn’t Billy – I just observed these things whilst I was alone, and it is something that once you notice you find it hard to switch off. [Page xii]I wanted to start to understand the impact digital technology was having in terms of both its depth and breadth, not just in the context of social and developmental issues but also the processes that govern these, the cognitive processes that underlie them. More and more I became interested in the way we deploy our existing cognitive skills whilst we are engaged in the use of digital technology. My secondary concern was the one that actually served to drive me to complete this book, and that was if we are using digital technology on such a massive scale, could it be actually changing the way in which we think? The question didn’t really present itself as being something simple or straightforward, and even now I am still finding new information that adds to the story that is being told here. It isn’t until you actually sit down and commit words to screen that you realise the enormity of the issue as well as the complexity that underlies such a question. The key to this book is that the story is just beginning, and I want it to be seen as a first attempt to draw most of the strands of research on this topic together in one place. If the reader takes anything away at the end, it should be the understanding that more work is needed in this area and more research needs to be conducted so further tales can be told. The question of whether digital technology is impacting on the way in which we think seems even more poignant when we consider the interaction viewed on the London tube several years ago; it is the younger and developing generation that is being immersed in a technological environment that no one else will have experienced before. Now this isn’t about being judgemental, or implementing a nanny-state where the time spent on the Internet is strictly governed; it is more about being responsible and acquiring as much information as possible about both the positives and negatives for engaging in the use of digital technology.
If you are expecting a stuffy, aloof and humourless exploration of our interactions with digital technology that is devoid of anecdotal evidence and a feverish attempt to engage the reader … you had better step away from this book and leave quietly. However, if you like the sound of an alternative approach to the former, have an interest in the area of cyberpsychology and want to start to understand the current themes that guide our exploration of cognition online, then, reader, you have come to the right place.
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