This is your brain. This is your brain on computers.


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Since I am living at my computer more than usual this week (co-coordinating the upcoming Pennwriters Conference) I’m reminded of this fascinating interview on NPR’s Fresh Air with technology journalist Matt Richtel. His series of articles for the NYTimes  “Your Brain On Computers” describes how multitasking on computers and digital gadgets affects the way we’re all processing information.

Ongoing bursts of stimuli are hampering our ability to focus and keeping us in an exhaustive fight-or-flight mode (“ding”— will that email/tweet/post be good or bad?). Device overload is also keeping us from learning. Digital devices deprive the brain of much-needed downtime to embed information we’ve taken in. We used to get some downtime while waiting in line or even waiting for the traffic light. But now we constantly fill any free time by checking our devices. It’s actually changing the way kids’ brains are developing.

In the few minutes I’ve been writing this, my eye keeps jumping to my mail icon, which is telling me I’ve got 5 new emails. It’s all I can do not to hop over and look. I can barely focus on this post, and I’ve got an entire conference registration packet to write.

Crap. Now my inbox just hit double-digits. Just read the articles. Try to save yourself.

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2 Responses to This is your brain. This is your brain on computers.

  1. John says:

    Julie,
    Just read Fat, Dumb and Lazy. I loved it. What would you recommend I read next of yours?

    As for our brains on computer, did you catch the video clip of the woman walking and messaging who fell into a water fountain? Oh no, I am getting a text and call on my Blackberry. I am a bit perplexed as to which to respond to first!

  2. julielong says:

    John -ha! I hadn’t heard about that woman, but I believe it. Glad you enjoyed reading Fat, Dumb and Lazy. As for next reads of mine, check out A Mouthful of Truth: The Real Deal on Food and Eating. Thanks!

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