Sunday, April 24, 2005

Does TV Make You Smarter?

Great article in The New York Times Magazine, by Steven Johnson, the author of "Mind Wide Open." The gist:

... another kind of televised intelligence is on the rise. Think of the cognitive benefits conventionally ascribed to reading: attention, patience, retention, the parsing of narrative threads. Over the last half-century, programming on TV has increased the demands it places on precisely these mental faculties. This growing complexity involves three primary elements: multiple threading, flashing arrows and social networks.

Johnson makes a persuasive case that TV shows today are vastly more sophisticated than those of yesteryear. But his case ends there; he offers no argument that our exposure to, say, "The Sopranos" or "The West Wing" is actually making us any smarter. Still, I expect that watching these shows will be less of a guilty pleasure.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Cathy T said...

I firmly believe that a steady diet of The Daily Show and South Park makes me smarter!

CT

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