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Twitter Is Eroding Your Intelligence, Study Says

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Twitter, illustration

Credit: Reuters

Twitter not only fails to enhance intellectual attainment but substantially undermines it, according to a working paper published this month by the economics and finance department at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan.

"It's quite detrimental," says Gian Paolo Barbetta, a professor of economic policy at the private research university and lead author of "Let's Tweet Again? The Impact of Social Networks on Literature Achievement in High School Students: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial." "I can't say whether something is changing in the mind, but I can say that something is definitely changing in the behavior and the performance."

The study drew on a sample of roughly 1,500 students attending 70 Italian high schools during the 2016-17 academic year. Half of the students used Twitter to analyze a 1904 novel by Italian Nobel laureate Luigi Pirandello. The other half relied on traditional classroom teaching methods.

Using Twitter reduced performance on a test by about 25 to 40 percent of a standard deviation from the average result, the paper says.

The decline was sharpest among higher-achieving students, including women, those born in Italy, and those who had scored higher on a baseline test. This finding, the paper notes, bolsters the conclusion that blogs and social networking sites actively impair performance, rather than simply failing to augment learning.

From The Straits Times
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