The Internet and Your Brain Discussion Assignment an ni media 1

The Internet and Your Brain Discussion Assignment

Historically speaking, the human brain has changed (literally, physically changed) with every new stage of media development.


When we evolved from being an “Oral” culture to a “Written” or “Print” or “Literate” culture – our memory capacity declined. That part of our brain literally got smaller. This is also the period of time when anthropologists believe we, as humans, first started using the word “I,” and differentiating ourselves as individuals, because each person who could read, could read something different – and at different times. Not possible before.


Then, when we grew from the Print era into the Electronic Era (with radio, movies, and eventually television), we were able to use communication to collapse barriers of space and time. So we could now experience something that was happening far away, or something that happened yesterday, or even (in the case of scripted programming) something that never actually happened. The human brain continued to evolve, to process these previously unknown mysteries of space and time and fiction. Some parts grew larger, while others grew smaller.


Moving into the information age, our brains became more nimble with organizing and storing data.

Now, in the midst of the digital age, our brains are changing yet again. (And thanks to recent findings in the studies of neuro-plasticity, we now know that they change much more rapidly than we previously suspected.)

Last week, you watched and commented on a video about the Attention Economy. Now let’s focus upon the effects of that economy and that way of being, on our species at large. Human beings are changing (biologically) as a direct result of their media consumption.

The Assignment:

For this week’s assignment – Watch the five short youtube videos below, then respond to the discussion prompt that follows as instructed.

NOTE – It will take less than an hour (43+ minutes) to view all these videos in sequence. (Of course, you may choose to view them at different times or on different days.) The difference in production style (live action vs animated), length (3+ minutes vs 17+minutes), and format (factual vs artistic), of these video choices is intentional.