Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows

Discussion on Carr’s Chapter 7

1) Carr tells us that the Internet “delivers precisely the kind of sensory and cognitive stimuli …” that causes changes in the brain (116). What does he mean? How exactly does this happen? What tech do you know of that does this too? Explain.

2) Carr discusses research on the different ways that reading books versus web pages affects how we think (121-125). What are the important ideas he offers? How is he right (or wrong)?

3) Carr talks about “cognitive load” (125). How is this a useful concept? What ways might you apply it to your own ideas for a research project?

4) Hyperlinks seem like a good idea, right? (126-127) Why aren’t they? Does the idea of cognitive load help to understand the problem?

5) Starting on page 129, Carr discusses a set of studies. He seems to be concerned with “Switching costs” (133). What’s his point? How might you make use of these ideas he offers here?

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