Monday, September 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

No Way

You might not remember this, but remember back in April how a study showed that chat and email caused more damage to your IQ and concentration than smoking pot? No?

No Way

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Jeff You might not remember this, but remember back in April how a study showed that chat and email caused more damage to your IQ and concentration than smoking pot? No?

Ok, well trust me, dude, this was big news. And now it's not.

Here is the original item in Slashdot, back on April 22.

"The Guardian is reporting that a recent study at King's College indicates that the average IQ loss of email users was 10 points (or six points more than cannabis users). Details on The Register as well. The Register has a related story about how computers make kids dumb and an apparent "problem-solving deficit disorder" observed in children who use computers. I thought it was television that rotted your brain?"

No way.

Slashdot clears the air clears the air in a post last night, and blames the problem on, what else, "rotten science journalism." The author of the report was talking only of a temporary effect. What? And somehow the 8 subjects studied got reported as ten times that much.

Here's the latest:   

"Turns out, those endless news reports and blog entries in April about "texting makes you stupid" were inaccurate. As linguist Mark Liberman at LanguageLog now reports by way of apologizing to Wilson, it wasn't Wilson's fault, but that of "rotten science journalism." Psychologist Glenn Wilson was reported to have done a study said that chat and email, as the Guardian put it, "are a greater threat to IQ and concentration than taking cannabis." But Wilson says, "This...is a temporary distraction effect┬Śnot a permanent loss of IQ. The equivalences with smoking pot and losing sleep were made by others, against my counsel, and 8 [subjects] somehow became '80 clinical trials.'"

Someone must have been emailing too much when they wrote that sucker up in April.

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About this blog
Daniel Rubin is a columnist and The Inquirer's director of social media. Since joining newspaper as a staff writer in 1988, Daniel Rubin has reported from Mayfair to Macedonia, 27 countries in all. He has been the European Correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and for two years he sat at home and wrote Blinq, the paper's first daily blog. Dan began newspaper work in Norfolk and Louisville, Ky., after getting his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University. He has lived in all four commonwealths, most recently in Pennsylvania. He teaches urban journalism at the University of Pennsylvania

Email Blinq here. My day job - Inquirer metro columnist - is here.

Reach Daniel at drubin@phillynews.com.

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