Because of the popularity of this topic, three groups explored this subject. Please be sure to review each write-up, which immediately follows this one.


  • Mark S. Cohen, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Mark W. Lenox, Texas A&M University
  • Andreas Malikopoulos, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Rene Marois, Vanderbilt University
  • Ulrich Mayr, University of Oregon
  • David E. Meyer, University of Michigan
  • Jonathan Z. Simon, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Clara H. Vaughn, University of Maryland


Clara Vaughn, NAKFI Science Writing Scholar University of Maryland

Introduction: Framing the Task

IDR Team 5A was asked to develop a new approach to assess the differences in cognitive and brain function between the brains of digital natives (individuals born during or after the introduction of current digital technologies) and digital immigrants (those individuals born before the widespread use of digital technologies).

The group first developed a framework through which to conceptualize brain function as it relates to the digital world. The framework accounts for potential contributing factors, including the individual under consideration, the technology with which he is interacting and the environment in which he is operating.

The goal of using such a framework was to optimize an individual’s cognitive and brain function in the face of an information-dense digital world. It took on the acronym “DITF” (djpg-tjpgf), an abbreviation of OM-EPT DITF, or Optimal Managed Environment-Person-Technology Digital In-Trans-Formation.

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