According to psychologist Dr. Tracy Alloway, Facebook is an enhancer of intelligence while Twitter has the opposite effect. What this means is that Facebook can make one smarter while Twitter can make one more stupid.
Focusing on “working memory,” Dr. Alloway has done extensive research on working memory and believes it to be more important than IQ. Working memory involves the ability to both remember information as well as use it. An example of working memory use is answering questions on a test.
The flood of information from YouTube, SMS and Twitter, which does not involve processing, has a negative effect on 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,” says Dr. Alloway.
“Your attention span is being reduced and you’re not engaging your brain and improving nerve connections.” Meanwhile, games like Sudoko and even the Total War series of video games, because:
“You’re keeping track of past actions and mapping the actions you’re going to take.”
Although Dr. Alloway was not clear on why Facebook helped working memory, she did say that it might be because of the concentration needed in order to keep up with all their friends on their Facebook homepage. This study of course contradicts our earlier post about the research neuroscientists have done suggesting that all social networking websites systematically reduces ones mental capacity.
If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on the research by the neuroscientists.