Tag Archives: society

Infographic on excess Internet use

Yep, there’s more on the “Internet changes your brain structure” issue. Check out the infographic on this blog–the author has looked into multiple studies that document that excessive Internet use affects the way the brain develops, and not always in a positive way. He linked to a few studies, like this one from Scientific American, that are investigating how continuous Internet use physically changes the brain. The conclusions reached are still inconclusive, though, and the debate still rages over whether constant Internet availability and the subsequent brain changes have net negative consequences.

There’s no doubt that we live in a more inter-connected age, and that information is flowing faster than ever. It’s been said, “getting information from the Internet is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant.” (Finding the original quote was interesting–the above link to the quote is the earliest I could find, from 2000.)  It may be inevitable that our brains will indeed wire themselves differently as it’s impossible to go back to a time without all that connectivity. I’m hoping for an ultimate “moderation in all things” type of response. I want the pendulum to swing back a bit and people to put down their electronic devices in order to more fully interact with one another in person. (The media could do its part by creating advertisements advocating a break from electronic data, but yeah, that’s not going to happen.)

Part of me wants to shake the collective world’s shoulders and entreat them to disconnect, just for a little while, once in a while. Part of me recognizes the futility of that dream. But I’ll continue to be a one-woman advocate for unplugging from time to time, if only to make sure that your significant other hasn’t been replaced by a robot. :o)

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Higher social class predicts unethical behavior

What? How crazy is that?! In a paper published in January 2012 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS), seven studies were conducted that revealed that upper class individuals behaved more unethically than lower class ones. Apparently, the better off you are the more likely you are to lie, cheat and steal, due to your more positive attitude towards greed. According to the paper, the upper class value their own welfare above that of others, and greed leads to reduced concern of how their behavior affects others.

I have long heard that poorer families give a greater percentage of their income to charity than their wealthier counterparts, and now it turns out that richer you are, the more Scrooge-like you are. With all apologies to Mr. Scrooge. But why are upper-class individuals more prone to unethical behavior, from violating traffic codes to taking public goods to lying? And what would be the results, I wonder, if the study were conducted in a different country? Is it just Americans or does society’s nobility behave boorishly across cultures? I find this to be distressing on many levels, and I’m not sure what can be done to reverse this trend.

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