Always on mobile web devices fatigue our not always on brains

Friday, 27 August, 2010

Browsing the web or writing emails with mobile web-enabled devices may be fine for alleviating the odd spot of boredom while waiting in a queue, or sitting out a bus or train ride, but constant exposure to data can deny our minds the opportunity to absorb and retain information, and also hinder our ability to think things through, or devise ideas.

Cellphones, which in the last few years have become full-fledged computers with high-speed Internet connections, let people relieve the tedium of exercising, the grocery store line, stoplights or lulls in the dinner conversation. The technology makes the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.

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