When you develop the habit of distraction, it becomes harder and harder to think deeply

Huffington Post spoke to Nicholas Carr who five years ago wrote in his book, The Shallows: How The Internet Is Changing Our Brains, about the way technology seemed to be eroding our ability to concentrate:

Are you optimistic about any of the ways we currently seem to be adapting [to the constant flow of information through digital devices]?

No. It’s the ease with which we adapt that makes me most nervous. It doesn’t take long for someone to get used to glancing at their smartphone 200 times a day. We’re creatures of habit mentally and physically.

When you develop that habit of distraction, it becomes harder and harder to back away and engage our minds in deeper modes of thinking.

Is there anything we can do to keep our mental faculties intact, or is it pretty much hopeless at this point?

Well, you can use the technology less and set aside your phone and spend a good part of your day trying to maintain your focus and not be interrupted. The good thing about that — because of the plasticity of our brains — is that if you change your habits, your brain is happy to go along with whatever you do.

What makes me more pessimistic is that we’re kind of building our personalities and our entire societies around this new set of norms and expectations that says you need to be constantly connected. As long as we continue going down that path it’s going to be ever harder for us to buck the status quo. [Continue reading…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email