Americans are logged on in record numbers--and--could social media make you a “lazy thinker?” Show Notes

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Americans are logged on in record numbers, but they say giving up social media wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

PluggedIn.com is reporting on a new survey on Americans and internet use done by the Pew Research Center.  They found that 87% of U.S. adults are now online—the highest level ever recorded by pollsters.

Among those adult users, 90% say the Internet has been good for them personally. 76% of Americans say that the Internet is a good thing for society as a whole, and 57% say it would be "very hard" to give it up.

Interestingly, those surveyed said getting rid of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram wouldn't be that difficult—only 11% thought losing social media would cause any kind of hardship.

Speaking of social media, a new study suggests it may be undermining our ability to think for ourselves.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland conducted a study that involved asking people a series of trick questions.

One group answered the questions in isolation, while a second group was allowed to see the answers of other people in a simulated social network.

Those in the second group often changed their answers after seeing other responses, while those who answered the questions in isolation didn’t change their answers

Lead researcher Iyad Rahwan believes that the rise of information-sharing websites such as Twitter and Facebook will make us rely more and more on the opinions of others.

This could interfere with our ability to think critically and make us lazy.  Why?  Because we assume that there will always be someone else who knows the answer.

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.
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