Twitter Makes You Dumb

Hey, it’s not my research so don’t shoot the messenger.  Some scientist types at UCLA have proven that our technology-enabled multi-tasking is doing some harm along with it’s supposed good.

The mental gymnastics required to flit between real people, driving, listening to music, watching a computer screen and a TV screen, Twittering, answering a call, etc etc energizes the visual processing and physical coordination parts of the brain BUT simultaneously sucks the energy out of very important areas of the brain: memory and learning.

Our brains are finite – they can only do so much – and when we push them to do a lot of multi-tasking something’s gotta give: actual thinking and remembering.

We may be taking in an avalanche of information through our eyes and ears with all our multi-tasking but we can’t actually think critically or remember as much of it as we’d like.

And you’ve experienced this haven’t you? Ever talked to a rabid texter and had to repeat your story to him?  Because at that moment, while his thumbs were whirling away, he was hearing you but not really listening and remembering you all that well.  That’s time wasted, not to mention a chance to connect to another human being wasted, by the devices that are supposed to be saving us time and keeping us connected.

As one writer says “We concentrate on the act of concentration at the expense of whatever it is that we’re supposed to be concentrating on.”

He questions the efficacy of multi-tasking in general and paints a dismal picture of what it actually is:

Productive? Efficient? More like running up and down a beach repairing a row of sand castles as the tide comes rolling in and the rain comes pouring down. Multitasking, a definition: “The attempt by human beings to operate like computers, often done with the assistance of computers.” It begins by giving us more tasks to do, making each task harder to do, and dimming the mental powers required to do them. It finishes by making us forget exactly how on earth we did them (assuming we didn’t give up, or “multi quit”), which makes them harder to do again. (Read the whole article here)

So, why should I buy an iPhone or start Twittering?  Hey! I’m talking to you.  Put down the phone.

[Things I’m not saying in this post so don’t even accuse me of it: 1)Twitter or iPhones are immoral. 2)People who use Twitter or iPhones are immoral.]

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