We’re all doomed
Terrible news, everyone: science has apparently found a link between high social media use and “cognitive and moral shallowness”.
The research, which was carried out by tech writer Nicholas G Carr, has revealed that those of us who enjoy texting, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (basically any smartphone-based activity) are much less likely to engage in “reflective thought”, or place “importance on moral life goals.”
The study was originally published in Carr’s Pulitzer-nominated book, The Shallows, which aims to dissect the way electronic communication has changed the way we think. It argues that the internet has led to an instant gratification culture – encouraging a drop in social effort, and “a dramatic decline in ordinary daily thought”. According to Carr, the fast-paced thinking the online world promotes has led to a decline in our ability to reflect: consequently placing less importance on morality, and more on our hedonistic urges.
Considering the fact that 71 per cent of online adults enjoy social media, this prob isn’t the best sign – and unfortunately, as The Independent points out, it’s not the first time the theory’s been floated. Carr’s findings are also supported by a 2015 study from the University of Windsor – which found a link after testing the theory on 149 students. The results were similar, claiming that “recent media technologies” are promoting “rapid, shallow thought” that can result in “cognitive and moral ‘shallowness’ if used too frequently.”
“Participants completed an online questionnaire comprised of five measures that assessed their social media and texting behavior, use of reflective thought, life goals, personality dimensions, and demographic characteristics,” the abstract reads. “Correlates of both texting frequency and social media usage were consistent with the shallowing hypothesis and previous literature; participants who frequently texted or used social media were less likely to engage in reflective thought and placed less importance on moral life goals.”
Bad times. In the meantime, please do share this article on Facebook – or hit me up on Twitter for more moral bankruptcy.