Researcher prove that retweeting causes cognitive overload which can lead to problems in learning.
So it has become somewhat easier to browse through your social media page and share whatever you like. This includes social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and especially Twitter where retweeting is the easiest.
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Just click or press the retweet icon and it’s on your own Twitter feed. The question however remains whether it is doing our learning and memory any good.
That was the question on the minds of the researchers at the Cornell University and Beijing University. According to their hypothesis, the process of retweeting causes a cognitive overload on the person which hinders their learning and retention process.
To prove their point researchers at the Beijing University conducted experiments to show that "retweeting" interfered with learning and memory, both online and off.
They conducted the experiment on computers in a laboratory setting where two groups were presented with a series of messages from Weibo which is the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
After reading each message, members of one group had options either to repost or go on to the next message. The other group was given only the "next" option.
Once they had finished a series of messages, the students were given an online test on the content of those messages. Those in the repost group offered almost twice as many wrong answers and often demonstrated poor comprehension.
Researchers theorized that re-posters were suffering from "cognitive overload." There is a choice to share or not share, the decision itself consumes cognitive resources, Wang explained that whatever they did remember they often remembered poorly.
In a follow up experiment, the students viewing a series of Weibo messages were given an unrelated paper test on their comprehension of a New Scientist article.
This time the participants in the no-feedback group outperformed the re-posters. Subjects also completed a Workload Profile Index, in which they were asked to rate the cognitive demands of the message-viewing task.
The results confirmed a higher cognitive drain for the repost group. The researchers concluded that re-posters paid more attention to reposting rather than the content itself which led to hindrance in their learning and retention of the content.
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The experiments are described in Issue 59 (2016) of the journal Computers in Human Behavior.