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Researchers have found that tweeting or sharing information on the micro-blogging site can actually make things worse for you as it creates a cognitive overload that interferes with learning and retaining what you’ve just seen.
The team from Cornell University in the US has claimed that overload can spill over and diminish performance in the real world.
Qi Wang, professor of human development at Cornell said, most people don’t post original ideas any more. They just share what they read with their friends. But they don’t realize that sharing has a downside. It may interfere with other things people do, Wang and colleagues in China conducted experiments showing that retweeting interfered with learning and memory, both online and off.
The experiments were conducted at Beijing University, with a group of Chinese college students as subjects. At computers in a laboratory setting, two groups were presented with a series of messages from Weibo, 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.
In the next step, 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. What they did remember they often remembered poorly, Wang said.
Again, participants in the no-feedback group outperformed the reposters. The results confirmed a higher cognitive drain for the repost group. “The sharing leads to cognitive overload, and that interferes with the subsequent task.