Quiz 13: In Defense of Distraction

Psychology

We are in 21 st century, surrounded with lots of technologies paving the way for a lot of information. We have the media, the social media, e - mails and so on and so forth. Over the last several years, there is a shift in the attention problem towards the centre of our cultural attention. We try to find the same in some mental labs, we see the decline of this attention in our coming generation, try to build it in yoga classes or take drugs to the limit of its cure. We all pay attention in some form or other at different places, though there is a dramatic change in the way we are paying, and the things which we get in the return. In 1971, the polymath economist Herbert A. Simon anticipated what the modern struggle would be. According to him, information consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, more the information leads to lesser attention, leading to poverty of attention. Therefore, when we give a thought to Simon's logic in todays scenario, definitely we are victim of serious poverty of attention. We can observe that the youngsters are moving towards a "dark age". The dependence on google is draining our soul. We are so much into internet, that it has become our centre for work, play, and commerce. Therefore, though information is coming much faster each coming day, and there are a lot of unreasonable thought of doing so, it all depends on how successfully we can adapt.

Multitasking can be described as doing several tasks or even two tasks simultaneously. When we ask brain to do multitask, the brain gets overloaded and its process of working shifts from the hippocampus, that retains memory to striatum that is responsible for routine task without much attention. This results in difficulty to learn a task or even recall what we have been doing once we have finished the task. David Meyer, one of the world's reigning experts on multitasking says that it's a myth that we do multitasking. When we do two things together we are just changing between simultaneously, and slowly with each switch the mental efficiency decreases. According to Meyer, the brain has several channels for interpreting various information. Each channel is responsible for processing only one type of information at a given time. If channel is overburdened, the brain becomes prone to mistake. However, according to Meyer, multitasking at certain task can be effective when the multitask involves entirely separate channels. For example, one can decorate a house or fold cloth or can cook that involve a visual-manual task simultaneously with listening to a news report or music which is a verbal task. Therefore, we can conclude that when two entirely separate channels are involved while multitasking, then the multitasking can be effective.

We are in 21 st century, surrounded with lots of technologies paving the way for a lot of information. We have the media, the social media, e - mails and so on and so forth. Over the last several years, there is a shift in the attention problem towards the centre of our cultural attention. We all pay attention in some form or other at different places, though there is a dramatic change in the currency in which we pay, and the goods which we get in the return. In 1971, the polymath economist Herbert A. Simon anticipated what the modern struggle would be. According to him, information consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, more the information leads to lesser attention, leading to poverty of attention. Therefore, when we give a thought to Simon's logic in todays scenario, definitely we are victim of serious poverty of attention. We can observe that todays generation is leading towards a "dark age". Winifred Gallagher, the author of Rapt, a famous book about the power of attention believed that the promising solution to these attention problems is the most ancient, Meditation. The neuroscientist in recent years, have also become obsessed with the Buddhists. Their discipline and attentiveness can bestow all kinds of benefits even on those who do not belong to Buddhism. Meditation makes our attention less clingy. It elevates our mood, which can then recursively stroke our attention. It has been proved by research that the emotions in positivity cause expansion of our visual field. The brains of Buddhist when meditate, it exhibits quick and noticeable changes. Their left prefrontal cortices which responsible for positive emotions produces gamma waves which is 30 times stronger as compared to new meditator. The most advanced Buddhist monks become world - class multitasker. The reward goes to mediation, that leads to an enhanced mental processing which is good enough to handle overloaded information and solving attention problem.

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