An analysis essay on “Mind Over Mass Media, by Steven Pinker”. Example
Mind over Mass Media by Steven Pinker
The article “Mind Over Mass Media” by Steve Pinker explains the effects of the new forms of media on the mental capability and moral aspect. He employs different methods to explain this to the audience. He claims that the new forms of media have raised the human intelligence to the extent of increasing the I.Q. He admits the fact that the new media has the negative aspect such as addiction and distraction, which he claims that they can be controlled. Pinker claims that the new forms of technologies in media help the society to search, retrieve, and manage information that betters the society as a whole.
Pinker argues that the new technologies should not be evaluated with disregard because they will enhance and improve human intellect. Using his persuasion ability, pronounced reputation, and relatable scenarios, Pinker captures the attention of the audience using evidence from science and historical basis. He explains that technology does not negatively affect human brain. He uses various examples to support his explanation. One of the examples is that in the 1950s people feared that comic books would harm the young people in the society by inculcating undesirable behavior in them, when in really reality crime was declining to record lows. Another example that Pinker uses is that people believed that video games made children lash out and become delinquents, when in reality crime in America was declining considerably. Generally, with every new technology that has emerged people tend to think that human brainpower and skills would tumble. However, Pinker argues that will power and self-control is all it takes for one not to be distracted or affected negatively in the world of technology. He states, “Far from making us stupid, these technologies are the only things that will keep us smart” (Lunsford, Brody, Ede, Moss, Clark, and Walter 27)
Pinker argues that the smartest people such as scientists rely on technology as a tool for advancing their research. He suggests that it would not be logical to say that use of technology lowers the thinking capacity. He defends the technology from the claims of causing addiction and distraction and says, “The solution is not to bemoan technology but to develop strategies of self-control, as we do with every other temptation in life”. Technology makes people use their mind, increasing the mental capability and learning new skills (Lunsford, Brody, Ede, Moss, Clark, and Walters 15). He argues his facts from both sides and demonstrates in the references that include all reviews of psychological studies and research done in his work.
Apart from humor and sarcastic tone, Pinker employs pathos and logos to persuade his audience. He delivers his arguments based on measurements and in a meaningful way. The audience is captured through his arguments using real life relatable issues and examples attractive to the emotions ethos extending to the pathos. He uses frequent occurrences that the public can relate. For example, he shares Woody Allen’s experience of trying to remember about war and peace after reading a piece of the story, but the effort is futile. He gives another example of a driver swerving on the road because of using a mobile phone while driving (Lunsford, Brody, Ede, Moss, Clark, and Walters 15-17). He knows that at one point or the other, the audience has had such an experience and can relate to bringing out his argument more vividly. He uses the example to show the audience that the performance is lowered when multitasking and demonstrate how little information is grasped when one reads fast and the brain does not have time to process it. The assumed reader accommodates the argument by use of pathos.
Pinker’s argument is very persuasive based on relatable examples, and one can agree with his thesis. Technological changes do not lower the intellectual capacity of the user rather they improve it. They enhance the ability to adapt to new developing forms of technology. Basing the argument on the 1900s scenario where comic books were claimed to turn juveniles into delinquents, the number of crime cases went down, and after the time of video games and televisions, the I.Q. score rose (Lunsford, Brody, Ede, Moss, Clark, and Walters 27). It reveals that information technology improves the brainpower exponentially.
In conclusion, with the help of the internet, one can manage, search, and enquire intellectual output of any kind. The internet is highly used by the students in their research and studies. With internet, students can access vast information making their learning easier. Therefore, there is no valid reason to use technology as an excuse of how the brain works. It is true that technology use is addictive, but people can learn to control themselves and not allow the technology to take over their thinking and the intellectual capacity (Lunsford, Brody, Ede, Moss, Clark, and Walters 27).
Lunsford, A., Brody, M., Ede, L., Moss, B., Clark,P., and Walters, K. Everyone’s an Author with Readings. New York, NY, United States, W. W. Norton & Company, 10 May 2016.
More Important Things