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Twitter makes people twits, scientist claims
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09:43, September 08, 2009

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An expert in memory has said that some social networking sites can make people less intelligent, while others can enhance people's ability to remember things, reports said Monday.

Dr Tracy Alloway, a psychologist at Stirling University, said some sites, such as Facebook, may actually improve working memory because they require people to hold a lot of information in their heads. But she says phenomena like Twitter may reduce people's ability to remember things.

"Twitter can cause harm because it produces a stream of information every second with no opportunity to process or manipulate that information," Alloway says.

She also blames the "tyranny of technology" which has reduced people's need to remember things. Speed dial on mobile phones means few people ever need to commit numbers to memory. And she says the watching of television also increases the risk of attention deficit syndromes.

However, she said there were ways to improve one's ability to recall information.

"It doesn't matter if your mother left school at 15 or got a PhD, it's a level playing field. Not only does working memory have a profound impact on every aspect of our working lives but now there is exciting evidence that we can train it and improve it," says Dr Alloway, who has devised an on-line game that can improve working memory. Dr Alloway claims it may help the young develop working memory skills as well helping to combat memory loss in the elderly.


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