Morton Ann Gernsbacher asks her presentation participants to Google, “How is the internet changing the way we think?” and see what happens.

You’ll find no shortage of opinions and fears of the negative impact the internet has on communication, education, socialization and development, she said. Gernsbacher, however, is trying to flip those perceptions.

From 2-3:15 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Stoughton Public Library, Gernsbacher will present about what impacts the Internet has one a person’s psychology.

Gernsbacher is a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For the past 30 years, she has investigated the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie human conditions.

Through her research, she said she has seen several positive impacts of the Internet, specifically with children.

“Children develop their reading skills just as well and sometimes better by using interactive, talking books, for example, off their iPads, as by reading paper books,” she wrote to the Hub in an email.

Gernsbacher hopes participants walk away from the lecture with a less fear and gloom of the internet. To that point, she quoted the author of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” Douglas Adams.

“Anything that gets invented before you turn 30 is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it,” she told the Hub. “Anything that gets invented after you’re 30 is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it until it’s been around for about 10 years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.”

The lecture is presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Science Festival and Badger Talks. The Wisconsin Science Festival is a statewide three day event that blends science with other humanities through experiments, demonstrations, talks and performances.

For information, visit or call 873-6281.

Contact Mackenzie at