Some detractors argue that the Web is changing our neuronal physiology, actually re-wiring our brains in a way that is dangerous and detrimental to our development. Others suggest that the Web is in fact helping us to utilise our brains more efficiently, making us proverbial ‘foxes’ rather than ‘hedgehogs’ (in the metaphorical parlance of Isaiah Berlin) – able to quickly gather lots of information from lots of sources rather than viewing the world through a single idea.

Now, rather than sit on the fence in passing judgment until some empirical evidence that tests this specific hypothesis lands in our laps, the Digital Revolution team behind Programme 4 is working with the CIBER research group at UCL to assess exactly how the Web is affecting the way we think. As part of the documentary series, we are running several nation-wide experiments to test the common conceptions and misconceptions about the web. This is a hot topic in the headlines and behind the walls of the Ivory Tower, so of course the issue did not fall under our radar.

In fact, this is a call for participation! This Saturday 14 November 2009, the pilot study for a nationwide experiment is taking place at UCL in the centre of London, and we’re looking for people to take part! The results will form part of the argument in programme 4 of the Digital Revolution series, Homo Interneticus. Here are the details:

The experiment takes place 9am-11am at University College London, DMS Watson Science Library, WC1 6BT on Saturday 14 November 2009.

We are looking for participants from the following age groups: 17-18, 25-34, 45-54 or 65-74 years old.

If you fit into one of the age ranges above, and live in, or can travel, to London, contact Cathy Edwards: tel 0208 008 3985 or email

You’ll be browsing webpages and doing simple cognitive tasks: nothing too challenging for a Saturday morning. So do come on down!

Find out all you need to know about this experiment on the Digital Revolution blog. While you’re there, check out the arguments: