Are social media sites like Twitter and Facebook making us dumber? One researcher in Abu Dhabi claims that may be the case after studying how people learn as part of a group.


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According to the report by the UK Daily Mail, Dr. Iyad Rahwan studied how people answered a series of trick questions posed to them alone and in a group setting. He noticed people were giving the wrong answer because they were tending to copy others instead of taking extra time to think the question through. 

Here's more from the report: 

By not computing that they shouldn’t rush in with their first answer but take time to think the question over, they fell into the same trap each time.

Dr Rahwan, who is based at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, said: ‘We think people are unwilling to reflect more because it takes time and effort and in daily life we don’t have the luxury of time to verify everything.’ 

He said that while we have long learned from others, there is a danger that the rise of information-sharing websites such as Twitter and Facebook will make us rely more and more on the opinion of others.

This could erode our ability to think critically and make us lazy because we assume that there will always be someone else who knows the answer.

And while much of the information we glean will be helpful, there is a chance we will believe dangerous advice.

The Red Eye panel of host Greg Gutfeld, FBN's Elizabeth MacDonald, Andy Levy, Joanne Nosuchinsky, and Sherrod Small discussed the study (after a few minutes talking about sneezing.)

"It's not making people dumb. People are dumb. Why are you gonna blame Twitter for people-dumbness?" said Small.

MacDonald disputed that social media should be blamed for people answering questions this way, arguing that it's been happening since long before Twitter came about.

Watch the conversation above and let us know what you think: is social media affecting people's ability to think for themselves?


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