Overloaded and Distracted by Tech

Who me?  It could be.  Clinically speaking, there seem to be two major conditions that might describe this phenomenon more accurately.  We could be suffering from “compulsion loop” or perhaps “cognitive overload.”  It is not the technology itself that is the cause of these behaviors, but how we use or overuse all the technology that surrounds us.  Some researchers describe our dependency more if terms of being an addiction that can unknowingly impact our personal and family lives in the most negative ways.

The brain’s craving for novelty, constant stimulation and immediate gratification creates something called a “compulsion loop.”  Like lab rats and drug addicts, we need more and more to get the same effect.  Similarly, endless access to new information also easily overloads our working memory.  When we reach “cognitive overload,” our ability to transfer learning to long-term memory significantly deteriorates.  It’s as if our brain has become a full cup of water and anything more poured into it starts or spill out.

So I guess it’s all about moderation in all things which you may have heard before.  Some “addicts”  also suggest specific rehabilitative measures such as going offline for specific portions of the day.  Maybe the most dramatic, and sometimes described as the most restorative, is going offline for several weeks at a time.  Call it a digital-free vacation.

Ray Myers

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