Can’t think critically? It's Twitter

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iol scitech jan 19 twitter pic afp AFP The Twitter handle has become a keystone of modern identity.

London - They are seen as a way of learning about everything from world news to friends’ love lives. But Twitter and Facebook may be eroding our ability to think.

Researchers believe the way information is shared on social networking sites may be making it more difficult for us to think analytically.

Iyad Rahwan, an honorary fellow at Edinburgh University, asked 20 people three trick questions. Despite being repeatedly presented with the same problems, participants tended to stick with their original answers and only got them right a quarter of the time. The same questions were given to a second group, who were allowed to see each other’s responses. On the first question they realised someone else had the correct answer and changed theirs.

But on the second and third question they did no better than the first group, despite being able to share information.

Dr Rahwan said this suggests the volunteers were copying each other without any real thought.

He added that there is a danger that the rise of information-sharing websites such as Twitter and Facebook will make us rely more and more on the opinion of others, eroding our ability to think critically and making us “unwilling to reflect”.

- Daily Mail

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