Sunday Mail - Body and Soul - - FRONT PAGE -

You’d think that with all this in­stant ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion, we so­cial me­dia junkies would be all the smarter for it. Ap­par­ently, not re­ally.

A new in­ter­na­tional study on the im­por­tance of so­cial learn­ing has found that while we may know more, any in­crease in in­tel­li­gence is su­per­fi­cial be­cause we’re think­ing less to ar­rive at our own con­clu­sions – so, so­cial net­work­ing es­sen­tially teaches us how to copy, but not how to think.

Re­search by the Mas­dar In­sti­tute of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy in Abu Dhabi, and The Univer­sity of Ed­in­burgh in Scot­land, found that users of sites such as Face­book and Twit­ter are copy­ing use­ful in­for­ma­tion from their “friends” but aren’t us­ing an­a­lyt­i­cal thought pro­cesses to ar­rive at the in­for­ma­tion in­de­pen­dently.

Re­searcher Dr Iyad Rah­wan says: “We think people are un­will­ing to re­flect more be­cause it takes time and ef­fort and in daily life we don’t have the lux­ury of time to ver­ify ev­ery­thing.”

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