Your Brain, Online, Any Questions?

Your Brain, Online, Any Questions?

A recent story in the New York Times devoted a two-page spread to the effects of computers on our brain.  The article brought quite a few problems to light in this era of constant information overload.  There have been multiple studies regarding the impact of technology on your brain and the highlights are here.

1.  Juggling emails, phone calls, and other info changes the way your brain thinks.

According to the New York Times, juggling all this technology undermines our ability to focus.  This plays to an impulse to respond immediately to all bursts of information.  This actually creates a boost in dopamine levels, which can be addictive and create a sense of boredom in its absence.

2.  You can’t think straight when your brain is off computers.

All the multitasking creates fragmented thinking and lack of focus long after you turn off your computer. According to some studies it even results in increased stress.

3.  You disconnect from real interaction.

You’ve done it.  Eating dinner with your family, iPhone out, email open, text messages coming in.  This creates an illusion of spending time with friends or family when you are entirely disconnected from them in reality.

4.  You may become forgetful, impatient, and impulsive.

“More and more, life is resembling the chat room,” says Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, director of the Impulse Control Disorders Clinic at Stanford. “We’re paying a price in terms of our cognitive life because of this virtual lifestyle.”  Some experts believe it is resulting in people becoming increasingly impatient and impulsive, especially when they realize they must do  more than “like” or “dislike” something in real interaction.

All this research begs the question, what can we do in this information age to combat the effects of technology?  Some experts suggest simply trying to spend less time online.  Set boundaries on how often you will check your email, Facebook, and force yourself to leave your phone in another room.   Please share your tips and strategies to help you unplug from technology and plug in to real experiences.