A study by a team at the Stirling University, UK, claims that while Facebook stretches the working memory, the micro-blogging format of Twitter diminishes it. Dr. Tracy Alloway of the University says with Twitter, the attention span of the users is much lesser and its effects not so positive.

In today’s world, they both are leading social networking sites but with a difference - while ‘Facebook’ enhances intelligence, ‘Twitter’ diminishes it, a leading British psychologist has claimed.

According to Dr Tracy Alloway of Stirling University, spending time on Facebook could enhance a key element of one’s intelligence that is vital to success in life, but using the site Twitter might have the opposite effect.

In fact, playing video war games and solving Sudoku may have the same effect as keeping up to date with Facebook, while text messaging, micro-blogging on Twitter can weaken “working memory” which involves the ability both to remember information and to use it.

“I’m not saying they’re good for your socialisation skills, but they do make you use your working memory. You’re keeping track of past actions and mapping the actions you’re going to take.

“Sudoku also stretches the working memory, as keeping up with friends on Facebook. But the instant nature of texting, Twitter and YouTube isn’t healthy for working memory.

On Twitter you receive an endless stream of information, but it’s also very succinct.

“You don’t have to process that information. Your attention span is being reduced and you’re not engaging your brain and improving nerve connections,” Dr Alloway was quoted by ‘The Daily Telegraph’ as saying.

Dr Alloway has extensively studied working memory and believes it to be far more important to success and happiness than IQ. In fact, her team has developed a working memory training programme that greatly increased the performance of slow-learning children aged 11 to 14 at a school.

Keywords: InternetFacebookTwitter


Searching the live WebOctober 19, 2009