Distractions, focus, and IQ

by Grace

‘The average smartphone user checks his or her device 150 times per day, or about once every six minutes.’

This quote is from a CNBC article about how many of us are on call for work 24/7, making long relaxing weekends a thing of the past.  Never mind lost weekends, the constant interruptions of checking messages and getting updates from other people can be damaging to the quality of life every day of the week.

As an introvert who dislikes constantly being on call, I understand how the expectation of an immediate response can be a problem:

… “We have created an expectation in society that people will respond immediately to everything with no delay. It’s unhealthy, and it’s unproductive, and we can’t keep going on like this.”

There’s a long list of horribles associated with our new, always-on-digital lives: You are dumber. You are more stressed. You are losing sleep, and more depressed….

We need downtime to preserve our memories.

… without regular rest, brains fail at more basic tasks. A study at the University of California, San Francisco, found that new experiences fail to become long-term memories unless brains have downtime for review.

At least we’ll have our Instagram photos to remember what we’ve done.

The Key to a High IQ? Not Getting Distracted

A new study suggests that intelligence is more about what the brain chooses to ignore than simply its ability to process information rapidly.

It’s called the “suppression index”.

… “For intelligence, you need to be able process relevant information fast, but you also need to focus on the most relevant information and filter out what’s irrelevant,” says Tadin.

A Reddit discussion offers another take, asserting that this study is more about ‘a visual processing thing, not an attention thing, and it has absolutely nothing to do with “distractions”‘.

I’m reminded that meditation improves our ability to focus.

… In recent years, mindfulness has been shown to improve connectivity inside our brain’s attentional networks, as well as between attentional and medial frontal regions — changes that save us from distraction.

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One Comment to “Distractions, focus, and IQ”

  1. Good post. That quote from the CNBC is pretty shocking but not surprising. This all ties into our need for instant gratification. Even though smartphones are wonderful pieces of technology I think they detrimental to our society as a whole. Being distracted and not being able to focus doesn’t allow us to accomplish much.

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