Saturday, October 18, 2008

Is the Shift to 5th Level Consciousness Changing the Brain?

In Digital Dharma, I argue that we have moved from the dominant television metaphor of the Heart Chakra -- with its challenge of compassion versus emotional (and sometimes physical,) addiction, to the Fifth Chakra challenge of telling truth from lies as we are all hyper-connected by our electronic networks.

In brain studies conducted at UCLA, and summarized in a new book, iBRAIN (reviewed in October 14th's Newsweek), neuroscientist Gary Small reports that regular users of the Internet had more brain activity in centers devoted to decision-making and complex reasoning than those who were light Internet users.

"Digital natives" — as Small calls them, appear to have developed more neural connections to handle the flow of near-constant sources of sensory data. "Digital immigrants" on the other hand, according the the Newsweek review, appear to have more connections in the areas associated with reading facial expression."

I would say that "immigrants" were trained by the close-up facial medium of television, while the new generation has been trained to learn how to process and filter.