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Your Brain on Computers

Yesterday I had a conversation with an 18-year-old who told me that he had started turning off his cell phone for several hours each day. “Off the grid” he was able to focus on accomplishing tasks, getting things done efficiently, and interacting with people who were physically present.

Is the fact that disconnecting from the electronic world allows us to engage more fully in the experience around us a revelation? I’m not suggesting that we throw all of our electronics in the pond, but I do believe it is useful to be aware of their impact on us.

The New York Times is running a series of articles about recent research on how technology impacts our brains, relationships, work skills, and comprehension. Here are links to the articles and a couple of tests you can take to assess your own level of attention:

An Ugly Toll of Technology: Impatience and Forgetfulness
by: Tara Parker-Pope

Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price
by: Matt Richtel

More Americans Sense a Downside to an Always Plugged-In Existence
by: Marjorie Connelly

Links to test your focus and your ability to multi-task.

As for me, I’m headed for lunch with a friend  – and, I’m turning off my cell phone in order to fully appreciate my time with her. I will continue to choose to take time to reflect and unwind off the grid.

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