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Lazy Minds by Dominique Peranich

Lazyy Minds is a project meant to influence people to look up from their screens. The project consists of an animation short that is a playful way of showing people how technology is effecting them physically and mentally. I chose to an animation on screen is because I also enjoyed the irony in creating a piece online about how people should spend a little less time online and a little more time outside or away from a screen.

As a part of the animation, I used my own eyes as I feel like I have been affected by this topic. To start out, I don’t have the best eyes, but over the years, and the more I use computers, phones or any other type of technology where I stare at a screen, my prescription has gotten worse and worse. I notice that if I stare at a screen for too long, my eyes and head get very tired and can end up resulting in a headache at the end of the day.

I’ve also noticed that the way my memory works has changed. For instance, I used to memorize phone numbers all the time. I knew, my mom’s, my dad’s, my older sister’s, my phone, my home phone and some friend’s numbers. By the time my little sister had gotten a cellphone, caller ID and smartphones were already dominating every corner, so I never memorized her number and I only memorized the numbers I considered more important. I also notice that things tend to be “on the tip of my tongue” rather than at the front of mind. I definitely feel like my mind has slowed down, hence why the brain in the animation sits back and relaxes on a couch and has become “lazy.” My short term memory doesn’t work nearly as well as it used to.

My research consisted mostly of reading the book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. The book is focused on understanding our brains and the human condition and how they are changing. The intent of the book, despite the title, isn’t just to say that the internet is all evil and is put in place to corrupt our minds, but mostly how we sacrifice a lot of our brain development by using the internet the way we do. The book goes on to mention brain plasticity and how circuits responsible for perceiving, thinking, feeling and learning are able to restructure themselves for long term cognitive changes, i.e. restructuring itself based on reactions to the internet and posts. The internet has also managed to constrain our working memory, the bridge between short term and long term memory, and keeping us from retaining content like we used to.

“What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” ― Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

“Patricia Greenfield (a psychologist and professor known for her research in the fields of culture and human development) concluded that “every medium develops some cognitive skills at the expense of others.” Our growing use of the Net and other screen-based technologies has led to the “widespread and sophisticated development of visual-spatial skills.” We can, for example, rotate objects in our minds better than we used to be able to. But our “new strengths in visual-spatial intelligence” go hand in hand with a weakening of our capacities for the kind of “deep processing” that underpins “mindful knowledge acquisition, inductive analysis, critical thinking, imagination, and reflection.” ― Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains