StrawberryFrog Group Strategy Director George Nguyen writes...
The nature versus nurture debate has developed a new wrinkle... the Internet. A recent Newsweek article examines UCLA neuroscientist, Gary Small’s recent study on how growing up in the digital era impacts the development of the human brain.
There has long been evidence that different parts of the human brain are impacted by different skill sets.
“The impact of technology on our circuitry should not come as a surprise. The brain's plasticity—it's ability to change in response to different stimuli—is well known. Professional musicians have more gray matter in brain regions responsible for planning finger movements. And athletes' brains are bulkier in areas that control hand-eye coordination. That's because the more time you devote to a specific activity, the stronger the neural pathways responsible for executing that activity become. So it makes sense that people who process a constant stream of digital information would have more neurons dedicated to filtering that information.”
Small and colleagues monitored the brains of 24 adults as they performed a simulated Web search and found that the people who have grown up in the digital era are much more adept at juggling multiple sensory inputs while those that have adopted the web at a later point in life still take in and process information in a much more linear fashion.
This only reinforces how vital web design and information architecture are as we try and capture the attention of those that are web savvy. How often and how varied will refreshes have to come? What level of interaction is required? What depth of information?
Is the idea of repeatedly exposing our audience to messaging outdated? Does it now serve to turn off our audiences rather than ensure that the message sticks? How exciting and visually stimulating do we have to ensure our digital presence is? Food for thought…