Distractions in the era of new technologies Part 1

How to cope with the information glut, when our brain has not kept pace with plenty of challenges and distractions?

Every time you talk on the phone while checking email, or reading a book with that music on, your brain is defeated. We are not adapted to multi-tasking, and it’s amazing how with all these limitations, evolution has left us alive. Add to this the new technology that is constantly interfere with the work of the already wounded brain.

Psychologist Larry Rosen and neurologist Adam Ghazzali in his book the Scattered mind. The ancient brain in the world of high technologies attempt to explain how to behave in the new information reality, which makes serious demands on our brain.

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The brain is vulnerable

We used to think that the human brain acts as an efficient Navigator, pointing us in the right direction in the world of information. However, we often feel puzzled when trying to run at the same time, even a few simple cases.

The fact that the cognitive control system responsible for control of our behavior — has some significant limitations. These limits relate to. Like a spotlight that illuminates a certain area and leaving in the shade the rest of the space, our attention very selectively. Working memory implies that we can simultaneously keep in mind only small pieces of information — no more than 7 digits, 6 letters, 5 words, 3 to 4 objects and only 1 person. The third limitation is connected with the management objectives — it is difficult for us to do several things at once without loss in the quality and accuracy of performance of each task.

All this leads to the incredible vulnerability of our brain to different kinds of interventions, be it the distraction of unnecessary information or interruption when you try multitasking.

And in this we differ little from our ancient ancestors. A similar situation could happen now that a hundred years ago: you are trying to listen to someone and concentrate on its history, but the brain constantly switches and focuses on words uttered by someone in another part of the room (it happens when you are bored).

The story of the book from the publisher, The MIT Press.

“In many ways we are creatures of ancient brains living in the world of high technologies”. The modern reality is that now we still difficult to concentrate on interaction because of the constant immersion in the world of new technologies. We have become hostages of smartphones and their endless notifications, visual effects and nice sound signals. While they capture our attention, the brain desperately tries to maneuver in the flow of competing information. All this allows to speak about the escalating trend called “media multitasking”.

In the laboratory of Dr. Rosen showed that adolescents and young adults believe that can switch between 7 types of media simultaneously.

During the day they check their phones about 150 times or every 6-7 minutes from the moment you Wake. Moreover, three out of four smartphone owners in the US are beginning to feel panic if you can’t immediately find his phone, half checks devices while in bed, another part is during the morning procedures in the bathroom, and three out of ten during lunch with friends and colleagues.

Round the clock online existence, the ability to immediately respond to the toast, chaotic switching between tasks incredibly exacerbate the problem of interference in the functioning of our brain while trying to reach certain goals. Although our hi-tech century can be considered the most enlightened time in history, our fragile system of cognitive control was not ready for such information boom.

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Why do we continue to behave this way?

Although each of us realizes that multitasking reduces performance, we continue to place ourselves in the conditions in which it is hard to focus on one thing. However, this behavior gives us pleasure: first, to do a few things more fun, and secondly, the brain encourages us for the new tasks.

With new technologies it is more complicated. The authors believe that from an evolutionary point of view, the inclusion of our multimedia multitasking due to an innate desire to find information. The availability of technology satisfies our inner drive and reducing the risk of such internal factors as anxiety and boredom (if limited use, of course). This view is supported by evidence that molecular and physiological mechanisms that originally evolved in the brain of our ancestors in order to help them in the production of food, over time, transformed into the mechanisms responsible for retrieval of information.

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