3 Ways the Internet Decreases Our Critical Capacity

· September 8, 2018

Several studies have indicated that being constantly plugged into the Internet diminishes our critical capacity. This isn’t a conjecture. Rather, it’s a sustained conclusion that has emerged from data and analysis. The relationship between the Internet and our brain operates within certain boundaries that have consequences.

Critical capacity, in this sense, corresponds to the criterion by which we ponder and evaluate information. It allows us to determine information’s validity and relevance. It goes without saying that there are aspects of the Internet that are neither valid or relevant. This is why the Internet diminishes critical capacity.

“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. What happens on Twitter stays on Google forever!”

-Jure Klepic-


How does this work? Many websites, such as search engines and social networks, work with algorithms. These algorithms work to tailor the ads and pages to the user’s tastes and preferences. Over time this stops you from seeing things you don’t want to see. You only see what you enjoy. Therefore, in the long term, the Internet decreases critical capacity. These are the three main ways it does this.

The information you see confirms your opinions

All the data that the Internet has collected activates when you use a search engine. In this way, the first things that appear are the sites that you usually read or a line of information that you generally consult. An important amount of material is left out of your search.

A person using Internet search.

Something similar happens with social media sites. When you use them, the network remembers the people you talk to the most. In general, these people probably think similarly to the way you think. Without realizing it, your circle becomes markedly reduced.

The problem with this is that you unknowingly place yourself in an ideological world that only confirms your beliefs. You don’t find information or opinions that contrast your own. The only thing you’re getting is affirmation. That makes you form a limited idea of the world around you. You begin to think that this ideal world is reality without realizing that you’re missing a big part of the picture. This is one way the Internet decreases critical capacity.

2. The Internet decreases critical capacity by stimulating narcissism

Social media sites, in particular, have created a new type of addiction, an addiction to likes. It’s not that you’re necessarily asking for it, but every time you post something you expect others to react to it. If they don’t, you may feel frustrated or perhaps doubt yourself.

Science has established that likes activate dopamine. They’re increasingly assumed as a reward mechanism. They make you feel good about yourself because they make you feel as if you’re being accepted by a group. This can be problematic if, in some way, that dependence shapes your opinions and words without you realizing it. 

Social media likes.

This is another way the Internet decreases critical capacity. It makes our ego a product of social consumption, which seeks to be approved by others. Disagreement could mean leaving a certain environment or facing public rejection. That makes us condition our thinking.

3. It promotes irrelevant social relationships

There are many ways to interact with other people on social media. There are social media apps, but there are also forums, chats, and similar media. In this way, the web creates a false sense of being surrounded by people. There’s an endless conversation which seems to have no beginning or end. That conversation, in turn, revolves around issues that become “common”. Like it or not, that’s what you end up talking about.

In an imperceptible way, physical contact with others is becoming less and less necessary. The interactions on the Internet involve adopting a physical posture in which you’re almost always sitting and looking at a screen. This has effects on your body and brain. Exercise increases intelligence. Physical contact elevates the capacity for empathy, human exchange, and affection.

Man addicted to the Internet.

As you may have seen through this article, the Internet decreases critical capacity. We voluntarily adapt to new ways of living and relating to others. The Internet takes away our direct, real-life experiences. You end up seeing the world through a small and limited window. That’s the risk.