In his online article, Nicholas Carr discusses technology and its effect on the human brain. He conducted in depth research on the brain and the way it responds to the use of technology. Carr makes the argument that despite its benefits, technology has an ultimately negative effect on the brain. He reports that through several studies, researchers have found that although the use of technology increases brain function, it also rewires the mind in a negative way. Professor Gary Small supports this fact saying “’more brain activity is not necessarily better brain activity’” (Paragraph 4). Carr uses the internet as a prime example of today’s common technology use and argues that, because of the constant shifts that are made when using the World Wide Web; the brain is being rewired and restructured to limit the amount of information that is taken in, causing a lack of critical thinking skills. His argument is firmly supported with a seemingly endless amount of factual information, professional opinions, research, and metaphorical devices. This constant use of logos is what makes Carr’s argument effective.
Throughout his article, Carr uses credible sources to defend his argument. He immediately starts off by introducing Gary Small, a Professor of psychiatry at UCLA. Carr describes in detail the position that Small holds on Internet and its effects on the brain and how it related to his own belief (Paragraph 1). According to Carr, the results of Smalls experiments proved that the constant use of Internet is in fact slowing down our minds. Carr’s use of a credible and educated professional set a strong and logical foundation to his argument. This use of logos appeal gives his audience tested evidence to match his own opinion.
Carr discusses the opinions of several professionals in his article. These opinions match that of his own, making his argument more plausible. Small’s research supports his opinion that the using the internet does increase brain activity, but that is not necessarily a good thing (Paragraph 4). Carr also mentions that studies done by professionals such as psychologists and neurologists, all “…point to the same conclusion: When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning” (Paragraph 5). Carr’s argument is increasingly more convincing because of his use of reliable professional opinions.
In his research Carr found a past, real-life example of how technology affects the minds of students. He discusses the 1980’s as a time for growing use of technology in schools. Carr found that among the seemingly multiple advantages of the use of computers in schools, there are even greater disadvantages. Research revealed that something as simple as reading text from the computer rather than a book slowed down the learning process and diminished the ability of students to remember what they read (Paragraph 6). Carr’s research combined a relatable example with the logos appeal to create a further convincing argument for his audience.
To even further appeal to his audience, Carr uses metaphors to logically argue his point. He compares transferring information from working memory to long-term memory to the action of “…filling a bathtub with a thimble” (Paragraph 13); not an impossible task, but definitely a long and grueling one. He continues this metaphor with a connection to the use of the internet. He argues that, “On the Net, we face many information faucets, all going full blast. Our little thimble overflows as we rush from tap to tap. We transfer only a small jumble of drops from different faucets, not a continuous, coherent stream” (Paragraph 14). This metaphor describes the numerous yet miniscule amounts of information that our brains process when we are using the internet. Carr’s use of a metaphorical device helps appeal to his audience by logically revealing a different way of viewing his argument, making it even more effective.
It could be challenged that Carr’s argument is not effective because he makes a dominant use of the logos appeal but very little ethos and pathos appeals. Although this is a valid point, one should first consider the amount of one appeal used and its possible effect on the audience, before coming to this conclusion. Carr firmly supports his argument with plenty of logical information. His argument is completely backed with credible sources, and nothing that he argues is purely just his own opinion. Although he uses only the logos appeal to persuade his audience, he uses it in many different ways. The credible sources, research, and metaphorical devices that he uses is more than enough to logically appeal to his audience, and therefore negates the need for any other appeals.
In his article, Nicholas Carr proposes a casual argument on technology and its effects on the brain. Most of today’s youth have come up in a household dominated by technology, and are ignorant to the how generations before them got along without it. This generation knows only of what they have now, and are unaware of the negative effects that technology has on their brains. Because of this I would strongly recommend Carr’s article to the members of today’s youth. Maybe if it was brought to their attention what technology is doing to them they would be more conscientious about the amount of time they spend with it. This could be a small step to preventing the damaging evolution of the human mind.