Hey there, Remington

This is your brain on blogs

Two doctors who specialize in children with learning difficulties run a blog, and they recently wrote a short essay explaining why blogging may help improve critical thinking. They offer a few suggestions, but the most intriguing to me was this:

Blogging is ideally suited to follow the plan for promoting creativity advocated by pioneering molecular biologist Max Delbruck. Delbruck’s “Principle of Limited Sloppiness” states we should be sloppy enough so that unexpected things can happen, but not so sloppy that we can’t find out that it did. Raw, spontaneous, associational thinking has also been advocated by many creativity experts, including the brilliant mathematician Henri Poincare who recommended writing without much thought at times “to awaken some association of ideas.”

It is, of course, incredibly self-serving for these bloggers to blog about why blogging makes your smarter, and probably even more self-serving for me to blog about a blog entry on why blogging makes you smarter. Eh. Still, I think that quote above is on to something. There’s a quality to blogging that is like brainstorming — thinking out loud — yet as the doctors pointed out, the fact that each brainstorm session is permanently Googled forces you to think a little harder about what you’re saying. Though I still believe, as I’ve previously argued, that the Internet may actually wind up being recognized more for its psychological impact than its intellectual one: “The world’s largest uncontrolled experiment in mass therapy,” as I once put it.

(Thanks to Steve Emrich for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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