Management Watch

Blog archive

Internet use clouds millennials' ability to read body language

Millennials may be much tech savvier than other generations, but all that Internet browsing, Facebooking and tweeting have impaired their social skills. But that doesn't have to mean they're hopelessly maladjusted.

“Compared with people who didn't grow up using computers and the Internet, [millennials] may be slower to pick up on nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, tones of voice, and body language,” John K. Mullen, a senior federal executive, writes on the Harvard Business Review’s Blog Network.

Mullen says these arguments are backed by some solid evidence. In his own research, which appeared in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Mullen argues that exposure to digital media reconfigures the neural networks of young individuals, possibly at the expense of empathy and social skills.

His research also suggests that many millennials are unsuitable for jobs that require face-to-face relationships, and their inability to pick up on nonverbal cues could be a liability. Another study he cites concludes that after spending enough time online, millennials “display poor eye contact and a reluctance to interact socially.”

Being a digital native is not all bad news, though. Research indicates that millennials are great at processing complex information and integrating sensations and thoughts because there’s higher baseline activity in the part of their brain that controls these areas, Mullen says.

Mullen is offering some key pointers for millennials who are looking for employment in areas that require human interaction. You can read all about them in his fascinating blog post here.

Posted by Camille Tuutti on Mar 23, 2012 at 12:19 PM


The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by wk1003mike): cloud system fracture.

    Does the IRS have a cloud strategy?

    Congress and watchdog agencies have dinged the IRS for lacking an enterprise cloud strategy seven years after it became the official policy of the U.S. government.

  • Shutterstock image: illuminated connections between devices.

    Who won what in EIS

    The General Services Administration posted detailed data on how the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract might be divvied up.

  • Wikimedia Image: U.S. Cyber Command logo.

    Trump elevates CyberCom to combatant command status

    The White House announced a long-planned move to elevate Cyber Command to the status of a full combatant command.

  • Photo credit: John Roman Images / Shutterstock.com

    Verizon plans FirstNet rival

    Verizon says it will carve a dedicated network out of its extensive national 4G LTE network for first responders, in competition with FirstNet.

  • AI concept art

    Can AI tools replace feds?

    The Heritage Foundation is recommending that hundreds of thousands of federal jobs be replaced by automation as part of a larger government reorganization strategy.

  • DOD Common Access Cards

    DOD pushes toward CAC replacement

    Defense officials hope the Common Access Card's days are numbered as they continue to test new identity management solutions.

Reader comments

Tue, Apr 3, 2012

So we're raising intelligent pyschopaths. Great.

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 Paul

He might as well have described me. Just one problem - I'm 55, hardly a millennial. In my research with psychologists on this, if those skills aren't learned in youth, they're never effectively learned. It's just another challenge to work with.

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 Elliot V

Where is the proof? First, manners and interacting with people still occur, even if millenials use the Internet more. Second, there is no real information listed here besides his own research to back up this claim. His research also suggests that many millennials are unsuitable for jobs that require face-to-face relationships, and their inability to pick up on nonverbal cues could be a liability. Another study he cites concludes that after spending enough time online, millennials “display poor eye contact and a reluctance to interact socially.”

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group