The Psychology EDIT February 2024

ChatGPT, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) is suddenly everywhere. Students write papers with it and teachers use it to grade those papers; in the workplace, some rely on it for research and to generate professional documents; most recently, I heard about it being used to write dating app profiles. ChatGPT supports incredible progress, but its pervasive use definitely has me thinking about the impact that this is having on our brains and emotions.
If we rely more and more on ChatGPT to do the cognitive ‘heavy lifting’, it won’t be without consequence. Using one’s brain less and less to think creatively, solve problems and communicate successfully, will result in that brain not being as good at doing these things. For younger brains, a reliance on ChatGPT could mean missing out on developing these skills all together.
I’ve also noticed that frequent ChatGPT users sometimes start to doubt their ability to be successful without relying on AI. This can negatively impact self-confidence and also interfere with a willingness to take even small cognitive risks (for e.g. writing an email or answering a question without being 100% sure of the answer). Success achieved as a result of using ChatGPT can trigger an internal struggle of having ‘got away with it’, which causes guilt or feeling like a fake.
So…what can we do to enjoy the benefits of ChatGPT while minimizing the potential negatives:
  • Limit the use of ChatGPT to fun/unimportant purposes, resist the urge to use it for meaningful school assignments or work products.
  • Parents—monitor a child/teen’s schoolwork to ensure they are not relying on it to produce homework/essays/reports.
  • Before jumping to ChatGPT, make a commitment to yourself to ‘try without AI’ support—attempt everything yourself first. Then, even if you turn to AI for some support, you have stretched your brain and reminded yourself that you are capable.
P.S. This newsletter was written without ChatGPT!