The "screen invasion": when there are too many inputs (and what you can do about it)

By William Seidman Reporter Matt Richtel won a 2010 Pulitzer Prize for his series, “Driven to Distraction,” on cell phone use and distracted driving. He has also been interviewed by Terry Gross. His message is that the impact of electronic devices — specifically the many screens we watch, read, or study with varying degrees of concentration during the course of a day —  on neural function is huge.  Richtel finds that more is not necessarily better and that, often, more is too much. He discusses the importance of time — to think and to assimilate information — to humans who are trying to learn something new. Richtel reports on the finding that media, whether it seems to require a lot or a little of our attention, actually disrupts many people’s ability to assimilate new information. In addition, it can interrupt and frustrate creativity. We like to give people several learning exercises, spread over time. The simple act of checking off exercises when one has completed them can be helpful, and actually stimulates a small release of dopamine. Trying to go faster, to do more — is often counterproductive within organizations as well as in the rest of life.  We find, and Richtel has reported, that deep learning, true attentiveness, and retention of the new material is often sacrificed to the demands of the devices and the barrage of information that they provide.]]>

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