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UCLA: Internet searching stimulates aging brains

The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) has found that searching the Internet triggers key centers in the brains of middle-aged and older adults that control decision making and complex reasoning. The study is reportedly the first of its kind to assess the effect of Internet searching on brain performance and will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

The participants in the study, 24 volunteers between the ages of 55 and 76 (half of whom were experienced Web searchers and half of whom had no experience) performed Web searches and book-reading tasks while undergoing MRI scans. While all of the participants demonstrated the same brain activity during the book-reading tasks, when doing Internet searches, the Web-savvy group also registered activity in the frontal, temporal, and cingulate areas of the brain, which control decision making and complex reasoning.

The UCLA Press Release quotes principal investigator Dr. Gary Small, a professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA as saying, “Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function.”

Maybe the study will encourage corporate executives and even younger managers :-) to do more of their own Internet searching, instead of delegating the tasks. This might improve their decision making and complex reasoning and allow them to avoid the types of repeated wrong decisions that have resulted in both large and small corporate disasters, such as the current global financial crisis. I personally know several management folks who could probably benefit from the experience, :-) and there must be many more.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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