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Gingersnap
06-07-2010, 01:28 PM
Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price

By MATT RICHTEL
Published: June 6, 2010

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.”

The message had slipped by him amid an electronic flood: two computer screens alive with e-mail, instant messages, online chats, a Web browser and the computer code he was writing.

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.

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.

The resulting distractions can have deadly consequences, as when cellphone-wielding drivers and train engineers cause wrecks. And for millions of people like Mr. Campbell, these urges can inflict nicks and cuts on creativity and deep thought, interrupting work and family life.

While many people say multitasking makes them more productive, research shows otherwise. Heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say, and they experience more stress.

I've been saying this for years. I have never, ever claimed to multitask. I just don't do it and it would be hazardous in my line of work. I've noticed that people who claim to be able to do it are just self-deluded. They don't do several things at once, they just waste loads of time restarting several tasks repeatedly.

I've made a deliberate decision to limit tech in my private life. No cell phones, no TV blaring all the time, no TV in the bedroom, no social networks, very limited email responsiveness, no GPS in the car, etc. My friends all think I'm living in 1910 instead of 2010 but I'm not the one who is bored, stressed out, sleep-deprived, or scatter-brained. ;)

More at the link.

NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/technology/07brain.html?ref=business)

Articulate_Ape
06-07-2010, 01:31 PM
What?

lacarnut
06-07-2010, 02:00 PM
I've made a deliberate decision to limit tech in my private life. No cell phones, no TV blaring all the time, no TV in the bedroom, no social networks, very limited email responsiveness, no GPS in the car, etc. My friends all think I'm living in 1910 instead of 2010 but I'm not the one who is bored, stressed out, sleep-deprived, or scatter-brained. ;)

More at the link.

NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/technology/07brain.html?ref=business)

Hey, that sounds exectly like me. Retired with zero stress. When I do get bored, I go to the beach.

namvet
06-07-2010, 02:07 PM
at one time i was working up to 6 forums. my wife complained i was spending to much time from her. she's right. now i limit my time online. she's far more important than gadgets.

noonwitch
06-07-2010, 02:07 PM
I finally bought a cell phone last year, out of necessity. I don't use it much, though, and it's a Go Phone that I buy a phone card for every month. I live alone, so I really only need one television. It's in the living room.


I'll never willingly have a GPS system. I have a natural sense of direction, one of those things would just throw me off. Plus, like Yahoo maps, they probably make mistakes. If I'm driving locally, I know when they are making mistakes. If I'm somewhere farther away and I have a mistake-I won't get lost, but I can't stand not being able to find the place I'm looking for. It's so frustrating. It's better to just get directions from the person you are going to see.

Speedy
06-07-2010, 02:17 PM
While I do not claim to multi-task, I am all about the gadgets. I love me my GPS, Cellphone, Ipod, Droid, notebook and PC. I am not posseded by them. When Yvette and I drove up the East Coast from DC to Manhattan, the GPS was a godsend in keeping me on non-toll roads and pretty much on my itenirary.