Brains like the Internet more than books

Libraries around the country are offering more computer classes for older Americans. Partially, this is due to the fact that it’s becoming more difficult to exist completely without computer skills. But, it may also be due to recent research that finds older adults benefit cognitively from Internet searching.

In a study, conducted by UCLA, older adults’ brain activity when reading books was compared to brain activity when sitting at a computer and searching the Internet.

Both activities activated memory, vision, and language centers in the brain. However, when searching the Internet, participants were also engaging the decision-making and complex reasoning parts of their brains. And the researchers found the more experienced a person, the more intensely brain areas were engaged.

Pam Kelly, a reference librarian at the Wethersfield Public Library has noticed more older adults are becoming interested in learning about Internet searching. The library offers monthly classes and even includes one directed at social networking.

Keeping your brain active has been linked to staying healthier longer. Computers seem to help brain function similar to games and puzzles. But, not everyone has a computer at home, so the library can be an easy, friendly way to learn about computers.

So, this summer, to keep your brain healthy, read a few books but find some time to look up some information on the Internet, as well.


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