“Our ancient food-foraging survival instinct has evolved into an info-foraging obsession; one that prompts many of us today to constantly check our phones and multitask.” In a world of nonstop information, “the smart phone's hegemony makes perfect evolutionary sense: Humans are tapping a deep urge to seek out information.” We already know that the average attention span is about 8 to 10 minutes, and with knowledge readily available at our fingertips, we are in an age of “digital distraction.” In their new book, “The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High Tech World,” Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen investigate how digital distraction impacts the way we learn. One of their experiments on learning and memory determined that retaining information relies heavily on the ability to ignore distractions. With technology, our distraction levels are higher than ever, with overwhelming stimulation and constant exposure to information that compete for our focus. Gazzaley and Rosen discuss how we need to relearn “sustained attention,” with the help of positive approaches such as meditation, exercise, and practicing mindfulness. Bottom line? Removing technology is not the answer, but rather, having small breaks from technology and relearning the value of sustained attention can help us learn smarter.
A Quiet Mind
Nov 01, 2016