Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price

Scientists say juggling e-mail, phone calls and other incoming information can change how people think and behave. They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information.

These play to a primitive impulse to respond to immediate opportunities and threats. The stimulation provokes excitement — a dopamine squirt — that researchers say can be addictive. In its absence, people feel bored.

SHOOT: Important to take charge if this scenario resonates with you. A good way is to exercise more. Have a system like 20 minutes running [or other exercise] allows you 2 hours of computer time. 40 minutes for 4 hours etc.
clipped from www.nytimes.com


SAN FRANCISCO — When one of the most important e-mail messages of his life landed in his in-box a few years ago, Kord Campbell overlooked it.


Not just for a day or two, but 12 days. He finally saw it while sifting through old messages: a big company wanted to buy his Internet start-up.


“I stood up from my desk and said, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,’ ” Mr. Campbell said. “It’s kind of hard to miss an e-mail like that, but I did.”


While he managed to salvage the $1.3 million deal after apologizing to his suitor, Mr. Campbell continues to struggle with the effects of the deluge of data. Even after he unplugs, he craves the stimulation he gets from his electronic gadgets. He forgets things like dinner plans, and he has trouble focusing on his family.


His wife, Brenda, complains, “It seems like he can no longer be fully in the moment.”


This is your brain on computers.

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