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Study Claims Using Twitter Erodes Your Intelligence

dimanche 2 juin 2019, 12:34 , par Slashdot
Researchers at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan have discovered that Twitter-based classes actually hurts academic performance, according to the Washington Post:
The finding by a team of Italian researchers is not necessarily that the crush of hashtags, likes and retweets destroys brain cells; that's a question for neuroscientists, they said. Rather, Twitter not only fails to enhance intellectual attainment but substantially undermines it, the economists said in a working paper published this month by the economics and finance department at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan...

The investigation drew on a sample of roughly 1,500 students attending 70 Italian high schools during the 2016-17 academic year. Half of the students used Twitter to analyse The Late Mattia Pascal, the 1904 novel by Italian Nobel laureate Luigi Pirandello, which satirises issues of self-knowledge and self-destruction. They posted quotes and their own reflections, commenting on tweets written by their classmates. Teachers weighed in to stimulate the online discussion. The other half relied on traditional classroom teaching methods. Performance was assessed based on a test measuring understanding, comprehension and memorisation of the book. Using Twitter reduced performance on the test by about 25 to 40 per cent of a standard deviation from the average result, as the paper explains. Jeff Hancock, the founding director of the Stanford Social Media Lab, described these as 'pretty big effects'.

Notably, the decline was sharpest among higher-achieving students, including women, those born in Italy and those who had scored higher on a baseline test. This finding, the paper notes, bolsters the conclusion that blogs and social networking sites actively impair performance, rather than simply failing to augment learning... [Lead author Gian] Barbetta suggested that declining performance among students who had used the social networking site to study the novel was a result of two factors. The first was a mistaken belief on the part of students that they had absorbed the book by circulating tweets about its contents. The second was that time spent on social media simply replaced time spent actually poring over the book.

The study contributes to growing skepticism that human activities - and learning, specifically - can be transferred to cyberspace without a cost.

A spokesman for Twitter 'declined to comment on the study.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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