Decoding the brain: Why digital-age kids have quicker minds than their parents

For millions of years the human brain has adapted to the challenge of writing, reading and more recently digital communication.

Today this adaptation is all about speed. Our actions are governed by the premotor and motor cortex areas of the brain. Children who’ve grown up in the digital age are exceptionally apt and quick in their actions, thanks to the effects of reward-based video games they’re accustomed to.

This basic, motivating, principle of gratification releases dopamine — a natural stimulant found in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and limbic system — which influences their behaviour.

Screengrab of the video by AFP.

Screengrab of the video by AFP.

As multi-taskers, so-called digital natives tend to store links rather than content, sometimes without reasoning or taking a step back. And yet they need perspective in some combat games, when the brain’s natural instinct is driving them to commit an act of violence.

Digital natives gain superficial memory as opposed to the deeper memory bank of their literary counterparts, whose linear approach helps retain information through a cognitive process performed by the prefrontal cortex.

By taking cognitive control of this area of the brain, digital natives must resist the automatic instincts and reflexes triggered by computer screens.

Because resisting these impulses in turn means taking full control of their thoughts, beliefs and reasoning...

And thanks to education and learning it is possible to nurture a way of thought to encourage creativity.


Updated Date: Mar 03, 2016 14:08 PM

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