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ACCO001 : Introduction To Academic Communication

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ACCO001 : Introduction To Academic Communication

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ACCO001 : Introduction To Academic Communication

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Course Code: ACCO001
University: University Of Technology Sydney is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: Australia

Outline the debate on the positive and negative effects of screen technology on cognitive development and explain how the concept of brain plasticity fits into this debate. Also briefly evaluate the debate.

Today almost every aspect of human lives is controlled by one more of the screen technologies such as mobiles, laptops, tablets and more. The emergence of the technological innovations affects the brains, emotions and behaviour and the overall lives of the humans, in both positive and the negative ways. Cognitive development refers to the development of brain and learning; and the development of the higher-level functions such as knowledge, skills, problem-solving, learning, and dispositions, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood. The said development enables the individuals to perceive and understand the world around them. The essay is aimed at exploring the various aspects of the impact of the screen technologies on the human cognitive development. The essay also presents an insight of the role of the brain plasticity in the cognitive development.
Humans today are surrounded by the technology such that it has been deeply integrated into their daily lives. Neuroplasticity, or the brain plasticity, refers to the ability of the brain to change with learning. The human brain has a significant ability to form new connections between the brain cells, also called the neurons, and accordingly change occurs throughout the lives of the human beings. According to the professor Susan Greenfield, the brain is malleable and keeps on evolving and developing in response to outside stimuli and experiences (“Modern technology is changing the way our brains work, says neuroscientist” 2018)
In support of the argument to the positive effects of the technology on the human brain, the researchers have found that video game training enhanced the cognitive control in the older adults (Anguera et al. 2013). In the event of multitasking activities, the adults are naturally found to have the reduced capacity with the age. However, the games such as the adaptive version of NeuroRacer in multitasking training mode indicated the reduced multitasking costs. Moreover, the training led to various performance benefits such as the enhanced sustained attention and working memory, which were initially not present in the ageing human brain.
In addition to the above evidence, there are findings of a study conducted on the lines of the Advanced Cognitive Training in Vital Elderly. It was found that in case of the healthy older adults, there was a 29% reduction in the risk of dementia on implementation the cognitive training and the follow up of the same (Edwards et al. 2017).
Moreover, the companies like the Lumosity, claim to have designed the games and products that boost the memory and the thinking power of the individuals. These games are popularly known as the mind games and are designed to develop particular brain skills.
These days a wide number of children of age eight and under, are found to have been engaged in mobile phones for playing games, watching videos, or using some of the other applications. The number was much lesser a decade back.
Some of the other benefits of the use of screen technology are the development of the hand-eye coordination, improved reflex response, processing of the visual cues, ability to solve the problems at a faster pace and many more. In addition, the screen technologies have enabled the humans to be more connected to each other, and thus are a means of overall happiness and simplicity of human lives.
Thus, from the discussions conducted in the previous parts, it can be established that there is a positive trend in the relationship between learning, cognitive development and the integration of the technology. However, a section of the researchers still believes that the use of technologies impedes an individual’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. Professor Susan Greenfield points out that overuse of the technology holds the potential to change the human identity permanently. Author Nicholas Carr also pointed out that more brain activity is not necessarily a better brain activity. He pointed out the fact that as the individuals engage in cursory reading online; they enter into an environment of superficial learning and the increased distractions (Carr et al. 2018). He further added that online engagement impedes the individual’s actual reading and learning capacity.
Though there exist counter-arguments, claiming the negative impacts of the use of the screen technologies, on the human brain development and learning, the same must be viewed in the light of the choice and the extent of use of these technologies. No doubt, the technologies have made the human life easier and simpler, rendering value for money and time. However, the choice of how often and deeply the same are integrated into the lives and environment lies with the users of the technologies itself. In addition, as Levy pointed it out, in order to futile the positive claims of effects of screen technology, solid pieces of evidence are needed, which are by far not present (“Your brain on the internet: a response to Susan Greenfield” 2018). Goldacre (2011) accorded the absence of evidence as well. In addition, the cognitive development is a product of a number of factors, which include nutrition, interpersonal relationships, and other emotional and psychological factors (“Why won’t Professor Susan Greenfield publish this theory in a scientific journal? – Bad Science” 2018).
As per the arguments presented in the previous parts and the discussions on the same, it can be concluded that, although the screen technologies render a positive effect on the development of the human brain, the same must be properly controlled. Digital technology can prove to be an aid to train, assist, and enabling the learning process, and the same is evident from the researches and studies as described above. The essay highlighted the instances of studies and researches, where the digital technology enhanced the certain brain skills. However, there are a number of other factors involved in the brain development such as genetics, nutrition, interpersonal relationships, and more. In addition to the above, the technologies must be used in a proper and justifiable way to yield the maximum benefits out of the same.
“Modern technology is changing the way our brains work, says neuroscientist” 2018, viewed September 11 2018, .
“Why won’t Professor Susan Greenfield publish this theory in a scientific journal? – Bad Science” 2018, viewed September 11 2018, .
“Your brain on the internet: a response to Susan Greenfield” 2018, viewed September 11 2018, .
Anguera, J, Boccanfuso, J, Rintoul, J, Al-Hashimi, O, Faraji, F & Janowich, J et al. 2013, “Video game training enhances cognitive control in older adults”, Nature, vol. 501, no. 7465, pp. 97-101.
Carr, N, Carr, N, Newman, L, Greenberg, A, McMillan, G & Raftery, B et al. 2018, “Author Nicholas Carr: The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains”, WIRED, viewed September 11 2018, .
Edwards, J, Xu, H, Clark, D, Guey, L, Ross, L & Unverzagt, F 2017, “Speed of processing training results in lower risk of dementia”, Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 603-611.

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