The Science of Distraction

Has the Internet nuked our ability to meaningfully focus on anything?

A Thousand Little Windows
stupid writer's blockJudson Collier/Flickr

Just look at all the things you're doing instead of working this beautiful day before a holiday weekend. Checking Facebook, looking at emails, listening to music, checking out Popsci.com and its Twitter feed, etc. How can you manage to hold all that information in your head at once? And is it any good for you?

That's what the TierneyLab blog over at the New York Times is taking a look at. Two weeks after soliciting questions about the science of information overload and attention, they have reached out to Dr. Robert Desimone of MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT and Winifred Gallagher, author of "Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life for some facts about the science of attention. In the article, they tackle everything from PTSD to ADHD to just how many calculations the brain can really handle at once.

New York Magazine also looks into the implications of a world beset by technological distractions in their latest cover story. NYMag also quotes Gallagher, and touches on far more topics than the New York Times. If you want to hear more about the lifehacking and a future populated by children who only know a world of technological distraction, check out the New York Magazine piece.

Most importantly, if you're looking for information about distraction and the science of attention, you HAVE to check out this article on...hey, look! That dog's got a poofy tail! Wait, um, what was I talking about?