This article from the Guardian is well worth reading. The info about multi-tasking isn't new, but keep reading and there's some really illuminating stuff about the changes brought about by email vs snail mail, and especially the bit at the end about why completing small tasks online is so addictive.
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015 … n-overload
Interesting article, thanks. I've definitely experienced the brain fog from doing too much online activity. I think it's addictive, no doubt. I have a cell phone just so I can avoid telephone calls. With a cell phone I can run out of minutes, have a low battery, forget to bring the phone with me, and a whole series of similar 'excuses' not to respond to calls. With a land line I would be expected to call back eventually...
While I suppose I should keep my questions to myself (or at least say something like "far be it from me to question a neuroscientist with a Viking Press book); but here goes.... (I don't flatter myself into thinking anyone will actually bother reading this, but I couldn't just let the "issues" I take with SOME of what is asserted in he article go un-said somewhere where it doesn't really matter.)
Interesting article, and I read it (although not as carefully as I should have - I';ll go back some other time). There are a number of conclusions drawn in it that I can't help but question. Maybe it depends on who, exactly, the person is (and whether it's, in fact, a person and not a rat); or maybe it depends on someone's overall approach to his/her own, oiverall life; OR maybe it depends on who grew up during what years; but I just see some holes in more than one of the points made.
I don't doubt that relying on technology to do some of the things that would otherwise keep a brain active isn't a good thing for anyone's brain; so that's not the "angle" that looks potentially flawed to me (that is, of course, is the person who wrote the article presents "conclusions" accurately). The questions (ok, yes, disagreement) I found are too many to raise here; but some people multitask naturally and comfortably (which is why, I'm guessing, things that facilitate doing that are so popular. In other words, "chicken/egg thing".
Maybe it's my age or my mood or my personality or whatever; but I can tell you one thing for certain; and that's there's pretty much nothing online or in my e.mail or in my phones (or any other gadgets) that gets me a "dollop" of anything much. I don't know... I tend to suspect that any dollops of dopamine (or whatever) SOME people get might more be from their sense of importance, self-importance, or maybe even limited productivity/accomplishment. Maybe it's priorities and/;or perspective (which can vary from person to person). Either way, rats' ability to have those more complex things in their heads is pretty limited. I just think at least SOME of what is being asserted in that article is based on inadequate information/perspective (or something). (Of course, while I get zero dollops of anything from text messages, even notices that one or another pay was processed, or most e.mails; I'll admit to getting more than few dollops of something when I read something like this (and maybe not ALL of it should be questioned; I know that); and picking apart what, to me (and I'm guessing a lot of other people who don't blindly buy what is presented in science-related articles) just seems glaringly "off" in far too many ways.)
I suppose I could have/should have turned my reply here into a Hub; but I also get "dollops" by not worrying about things like digging up images, thinking up a good title, or worrying about who thinks my personal two-cents on a subject like this is really "worth".
I mean.... It's not for me to question what was found about brains, dopamine, or rats. I just question some of the conclusions that were drawn from what I don't doubt is solid science; but that were "translated" into the people-and-multitasking/technology" thing. I mean.... to be honest and downright blunt, how on Earth did they make that particular jump from real science to what (I'm sorry. I can't be the only one who thinks this) is so glaringly not correct for a lot of people, at least not a lot of the people I know well) and what amounts, for the most part, to a giant leap from rats, brains scans, and dopamine to e.mails-versus-snail mail. (I don't think I've had this big a blast of dopamine myself since, maybe, before Christmas = and all while I have "The Big" football game on television - AND, in-between, there was a phone call that I did take.)
I don't mean to be/seem obnoxious; because I have tremendous respect for so much of what has been actually learned (and not just speculated about) by Science); but what I'd really like to see (say, on HubPages) would be a lot more Hubbers writing Hubs about things that, to them, don't seem to be accurate conclusions drawn in Science-related material; because as it is now, anyone who dares to question (even in only small ways or on some points) anything-Science/research-related) runs a really high risk of being viewed writing out-of-the-blue/unfounded information - or else, just generally ignorant.
It's not just the spin put on this particular bit of Science, but a whole load of other, similar, jumps made between what rats show/do, one or another thing shown on human brain scans, and whatever other bandwagon-conclusio0ns/ideas someone ties it all up with. I don't question that actual Science presented in the article. I have to say, though, I can't say it's all that "great" an article in the "scheme of the overall picture".
Oh well, whether I should have turned this into a Hub or not, I'll keep a copy of it as it is in case I ever want to expand, perfect, or otherwise polish up some of points Id didn't have time or space to make here. The owner of my blogs is perfectly happy with big, long, blocks of text that have no pictures and are otherwise considered less-than-ideal for Internet and/or traffic purposes and presumed preferences.
That was a really interesting article. I still have a "house" phone, even though we all have cell phones, it's nice to give a main number for the family residence, I think. I don't like being so available all the time either. When cell phones first came out, nobody insisted they needed your cell number. Now at work, or even at supermarkets, they expect it, and think they can call you at all hours of the day and night. I have a friend who gets up at 4AM to go to work, and his boss is still calling him at 11PM to ask questions. When is he supposed to sleep, or interact with his family, or relax?
I get people who call me early in the morning for Tarot readings too. I keep the phone turned off until after breakfast, and most of the people I know best are aware I rarely answer anything before Noon. I unsubscribe to a lot of email sites, but it doesn't seem to matter.
My son teaches and finds that boys in particular have ADHD more because they mostly play video games on their devices. They are so used to being entertained all the time, they don't really have to think anything through that much (though they may make good hackers some day). When you are constantly bombarded with data, you don't have time to play, or pretend, or read, or even think. Everything is just all automatic. And most of the texts and many of the emails are not that important anyway.
And people will say how great cell phones are in emergencies, and maybe sometimes they are. But when my husband passed on a year ago, it all happened so fast, there was no time for the ambulance to get there anyway. The same happened to me many years ago when my own father had a fatal heart attack, and was already gone by the time help got there. So if the emergency is that bad, cell phones and technology will not help you anyway.
A lot of science starts with rats, before they experiment on people. I don't see how it can be good for people to be dividing their attention so much. Especially for things that aren't very important anyway.
There are plenty of people who multitask for various reasons - because they either have difficulty concentrating on one thing for an extended period, or they may prefer variety, or they may be forced into it by circumstances. The article isn't saying it can't be done, it's just saying that it's been proved - by a whole host of studies now - that it's not nearly as effective as doing the tasks separately.
I'm one of those people who felt multi-tasking was saving me time - but unless I do a controlled experiment where I do exactly the same tasks both concurrently and separately, how can I know which one would've achieved the better result? I now try my best not to be distracted by other tasks because I know the science proves that's a better use of my time.
That's exactly what the article was saying - that sending an email gives a tiny sense of accomplishment. I don't feel that myself, but I think it does explain why I waste so much time on forums: I get a tiny "dollop" every time I help someone out. I think it also explains why so many people go on writing on failing writing sites (Helium, Bubblews), because they get that hit of satisfaction every time they publish a new post, and they're addicted to it.
Lisa HW, I think you could make a hub out of that response you have given.
I got rid of my cell phone because I got tired of "being connected" all the time. I'm a stay-at-home mom who works from my home office and the phone was so distracting and annoying. Got rid of it and now I have a home line. My friends think it's weird because I'm "the techie", but I just can't stand cellphones anymore.
Can't say I identify with that article. I find myself somewhere midway between the old and the young generation.
For me, email is a blessing. It means I don't have to waste time writing screeds on paper, finding an envelope, going to the post office to buy stamps at extortionate prices, posting the letter and waiting days for a response. I have not sent a letter by snail mail for at least 5 years, only use it for packages.
On the other hand, I am no slave to email either. I have one account for work and other important contacts. I do check that consistently, because work = money. My second email, which collects Facebook, email lists and other "social" messages, messages from companies of which I am a customer and such like is only checked now and then when I have a few minutes to kill.
I like the fact email saves me from wasting time on phone calls. I make less than 10 calls a month from my land line and mobile phone combined. Only my most trusted clients are given my phone numbers. I absolutely refuse to have Skype or any other messaging software permanently active on my computer. Any client that demands such intrusive mechanisms is rapidly sacked from my client list. My mobile phone is mainly there to have in the car when I am travelling in case something happens, to give me a simple way to check my work email account and Facebook when I am away, to look for a piece of information on the Net, to use with my bank accounts (stupid security rules mean I need to use an "app" to let me access my accounts online!), and primarily to give me the chance to do some spontaneous geocaching when I am in a new place. As for text, I might send/receive one or two a month. Most of the time my mobile has a flat battery and is off, LOL!
I do use Facebook to communicate with people I have met at least once in real life and a few others with very closely similar interests to mine and to enjoy a couple of delightful closed groups. My Twitter account is checked maybe once or twice a month.
As for "multitasking", well I do often have more than one translation job on the go. Particularly when deadlines are tight and I am working 18+ hours a day, I do like being able to switch languages and/or content. I find it refreshes my brain, so I stay more productive
I can't be bothered with "little jobs" on the Net though. To be honest, I can't really be bothered with any supposed money-making activities on the Net any more, because the returns are pathetic. I am lucky to clear $2 a month for my 20 hubs on this account, and a web site I started, which has about 10 pages on it currently, might bring in about $10 from Adsense and maybe a few Amazon $/£ per month.
In contrast, since I started a big translation project plus a couple of smaller interspersed jobs last Thursday until I deliver the finished translations this Friday, I will have earned a bit over 3000 euros from three European clients. I find that massive difference in returns ever so useful for focusing my mind on what really matters! Admittedly, this current week is a bit extreme: I'm working all the time except for the 4-6 hours I sleep each night and I will need a couple of days to recover when I finish. I'm happy to do that for the return I get though
Oh, if you're wondering, I still dip into the forums here when I want a break, hence this post.
Well, if you need the technology for work, then it is important, as long as you have rules, so your clients don't drive you crazy.
Another aspect is being able to balance it all. I would rather talk to a friend than email, I think it's easier to be misunderstood sometimes when we can't hear the person's tone and voice. Plus I think we get lazy and email instead of going out and actually enjoying our social lives.
I guess anyone who didn't grow up with all this technology is caught in between. I have a son in his 20's, and even see as he is working and running a business, his cell phone is going off until late at night and very early in the morning. You need to make boundaries like with everything else.
I also slip onto forums for a break once in a while too. But I also have carpal tunnel in both hands from all the years I wrote online, a development I never expected. You don't get stuff like that from going out to work or to socialize with people.
Does anyone else remember the book, Terminal Man? I think Michael Crichton wrote it. This article echoes the neural response addiction on which that book was based.
Scary. Time to step back for a bit.
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