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Johnson notes that the sleeper curve is a comparison between the level of I.Q and other neurological capabilities in relation to the changing technology aimed at showing how the modern forms of technology and the media are responsible for sharpening our minds (Johnson, page 34). Contrary to most people’s expectations that TV and video games play a role in sharpening our minds, Johnson proves that the complexity of the TV shows aired and video games that are played have a fundamental role in sharpening our minds and making us more attentive. He notes that the attributes derived from playing games and watching television make us more perceptive and train our brains to things in a sound manner. He states that “This growing complexity involves three primary elements: multiple threading, flashing arrows and social networks”. (Jazz Corner 2005 and The New York Time, 2005). This way, our IQ levels are increased and our brains become more sharpened. He therefore advocates for young people to continue playing video games and watching modern TV shows. He goes on the further state that, “The quickest way to appreciate the Sleeper Curve’s cognitive training is to sit down and watch a few hours of hit programming from the late 70’s on Nick at Nite or the SOAPnet channel or on DVD”. (Jazz Corner 2005 and The New York Time, 2005).
According to Johnson, a sleeper curve can be explained in three different models or levels which are the common driving forces in the sleeper curve. These driving forces include economic factors, neurological factors, and technological factors. The economic factors driving the sleeper curve include the changes that have been effected in the industry to suit the needs of the viewer while at the same time satisfying the financial needs of those in the show business industry. Changes have been cited in the television industry in recent times – most of which have been due to changing consumer preferences. This has been done through the introduction of TV series aimed at meeting the viewers’ needs. For instance, there has been an increase in the story line complexity and television shows that aired 20 years ago re now being regarded as primitive by the viewers. This explains why older shows like the Dragnet cannot match up to most modern shows being produced such as the Sopranos. This has ensured that people adopt the concept of Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), in an attempt to understand people’s emotional intelligence through reading their minds (Johnson, p.98). For instance, the producers and media people have to read the viewers emotional cues, anticipate their inner feelings and thoughts (Johnson p.98,99). Likewise, when watching television with friends or families, one also has to read their minds; what they anticipate and feel about the program. Therefore, television provides a medium where one can assess people’s emotional intelligence (Johnson, p.99).
Technology is a major factor that helps in the understanding of the sleeper curve. The ever changing technology is responsible for the sleeper curve. The technology that is used today cannot be compared to the technology that was used 20 years ago. Everything has changed. First there was the adoption of VCR’s, and then came the introduction of CD’s and DVD’s. This also ranges from the video games that kids play to the TV shows being aired. For instance, the type of video games that were being played 20 years ago ( ie Pong or Duck Hunt), cannot be compared to the ones being played today ( ie Call of Duty or Halo). Most of the games played then just required minimal skills which ranged form motor coordination to pattern formation and understanding. The video games that are played today are very advanced as compared to those that were played back in the early 1970’s. Modern video games create a whole new virtual world. For instance, digitalization has been on the rise in the show business. This is usually present in the TV and video games. For instance, Sleeper, the 1973 science fiction explains the incompatibility between the scientists in 2173 and the 21st century generation. The film is against the current generation trying to impose scientific and technological advancement used in cloning. However, current series such as Grey’s Anatomy embraces technology and scientific advancement by hypothesizing the probability of cloning in the near future. Therefore, the TV and video games pertaining technology helps compare cultures and the superiority of the current intellectual riches.
The neurological aspect of the brain is an important factor to look at when dealing with the sleeper curve. The way we think and look at things today is not the same way people looked and thought of things 20 years ago. Today, education does not take place in class alone. There are numerous activities in living rooms and basements which help kids to become smarter today. The mindset of children today cannot be compared to the children in 1970 or 1980. Today, children get introduced to very complex aspects of technology at very young ages. This facilitates adoption of the current trends of technology at the tender ages. The change in the neurological setting is what facilitates an overall need in the change of how technology evolves and our reaction to the different aspects of technology. Viewers have a need to maintain their connection between the virtual world physics and their brain chemistry, therefore, they are attracted to systems that explore the environment and have clearly defined rewards in spite of them probably having the virtual characters. This explains why the people who are above the age of twenty are not attracted to the rescue princess like games or videos like Nintendo or Zelda. The more grown up video games such as Halo or Call of Duty and the The Sopranos are what they are watching or playing. Additionally, people love mind bending files like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Momento and Pulp Fiction which help them develop neurologically. For instance, Momento uses a reverse chronological order whereby the audience is barely aware of the events preceding in attempt to confuse them. As the film ends, both narratives converge and one understands that the investigation taking place resulted to someone death. Watching the television shows provides a platform for improving our neurological development.
The sleeper curve undermines the long headed belief that pop culture is on a race to the bottom, where the cheapest thrill wins out every time. Johnson quickly states that the sleeper curve has not yet become more superior than the traditional culture. It undermines the premise that mass culture pales in comparison to High Art in its aesthetic and intellectual riches. However, to me his argument is invalid. The sleeper curve has greatly impacted the popular culture generation in the way they live and has therefore become more dominant than the traditional culture. In comparison to the older generations, the impacts of video games, TV shows, and technology are greatly felt in the society today. This has changed the American cultural values and the pop culture which was disregarded is now being embraced in a different style and people view it from a different perspective. Earlier on, people detested videos with extreme violence which are now embraced and used to make kids sharpen brains. They improve the level of perception and increase the analysis speed of viewers. The TV shows and video games are actually making people smarter as opposed to the belief that nothing good can come out of TV shows and video games.
The videos and TV shows are now incorporated in education and children are able to grasp more within a limited span of time. Children can now cope with school subjects like mathematics by using video games like Dungeon and Dragons that help kids to increase their calculation capabilities. Additionally, embracing the current trends in technology increases important learning skills such as reading speed and accuracy. Modern TV shows have subtitles that allow viewers to quickly read through and grasp the concept of the TV shows. This way, viewers can master how to read through these subtitles and lines with ease and use the same strategy when studying large volumes of books or numerous readings. The video games that were present 20 years ago are not the same as those which are played today. Games like Pac-Man and Tetris which were very popular back in the 1980’s and 1990’s are not as challenging as the video games today. Take for instance, a game like Grand Theft Auto 3 which requires more than just pattern recognition and motor coordination. Modern games are designed not only to create a challenge for the players, but also to sharpen the skills of the players. Modern games are created to bring into existence an imaginary world which has a lot of details and is very competitive in nature.
Importance of understanding the Sleeper Curve
It is very important to understand the sleeper curve because of the impact it has on our daily activities. Everyone is affected by the sleeper curve either directly or indirectly. The sleeper curve also affects the way we interact with the environment in general. Understanding how the sleeper curve operates is an important thing to put into consideration. If we are able to understand the changes brought about by the sleeper curve and the resulting effects, we can understand these changes and how vital these changes are as it helps one to come to terms with and evaluate the sleeper curve. This is because video games and TV shows have a great influence in our lives today. If video games and TV shows make kids smarter, then they should be looked into deeply. Anything that affects the social, cultural, and educational aspects of children should probably be looked at very closely.
The advantages accrued to the sleeper curve outweigh the negative effects and therefore, people should embrace modern forms of technology particularly the video games and modern TV shows. As we have seen, video games and modern TV shows are major contributors in our cognitive thinking and which increase our IQ. Children who play video games and watch modern TV shows are generally smarter and their smartness is explicitly shown in the educational field. Children learn how to grasp so much in such a small amount of time which also teaches them how to find their way out of difficult situations. People should therefore engage in, embrace video games and television shows to actually see the quickest way to appreciate the sleeper curve’s cognitive training (Jazz Corner 2005 and The New York Times 2005).
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