13 January 2009

My Brain, Your Brain, iBrain

I read iBrain a few weeks ago, and it keeps roiling and bubbling in my noggin, like a good brain book should.

gary&gigi It’s mostly about Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants – terms apparently coined by educational consultant Marc Prensky. In iBrain, Dr. Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan consider the psychological and neurological traits of these evolving archetypes:

Today's young people in their teens and twenties, who have been dubbed Digital Natives, have never known a world without computers, twenty-four-hour TV news, Internet, and cell phones—with their video, music, cameras, and text messaging. Many of these Natives rarely enter a library, let alone look something up in a traditional encyclopedia; they use Google, Yahoo, and other online search engines. The neural networks in the brains of these Digital Natives differ dramatically from those of Digital Immigrants: people—including all baby boomers—who came to the digital/computer age as adults but whose basic brain wiring was laid down during a time when direct social interaction was the norm. The extent of their early technological communication and entertainment involved the radio, telephone, and TV.

As a consequence of this overwhelming and early high-tech stimulation of the Digital Native's brain, we are witnessing the beginning of a deeply divided brain gap between younger and older minds—in just one generation.

How does this affect advertising creative? More fuel for the idea of a diverse workforce. Younger folks ingest and digest the world differently than older folks. So you’d better have the right guts around to trust.  If you don’t believe me, believe Rance Crain.

More from iBrain:

iBrainThe current explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains. Daily exposure to high technology—computers, smart phones, video games, search engines like Google and Yahoo—stimulates brain cell alteration and neurotransmitter release, gradually strengthening new neuralpathways in our brains while weakening old ones. Because of the current technological revolution, our brains are evolving right now—at a speed like never before.

Besides influencing how we think, digital technology is altering how we feel, how we behave, and the way in which our brains function. Although we are unaware of these changes in our neural circuitry or brain wiring, these alterations can become permanent with repetition. This evolutionary brain process has rapidly emerged over a single generation and may represent one of the most unexpected yet pivotal advances in human history. Perhaps not since Early Man first discovered how to use a tool has the human brain been affected so quickly and so dramatically.

Dr. Small @ Google:

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