The organised mind: Thinking straight in the age of information overload by D.J. Levitin (2015) [The Guardian extract]

The organised mind: Thinking straight in the age of information overload by D.J. Levitin (2015) [The Guardian extract]

– The neuroscience of addiction
– Multitasking is an illusion
– Multitasking is actually cognitive switching
– Multitasking comes at a cognitive cost (by as much as 10 IQ points)
– Multitasking increases:
– The production of the stress hormone cortisol
– production of The fight flight response hormone adrenaline
– The production of dopamine – Part of the addiction feedback loop
– Multitasking has metabolic costs:
– Causes the prefrontal cortex and striatum to burn up glucose, The same fuel needed to stay on task – Hence explaining why people feel exhausted & disorientated even after a relatively short time of so called multitasking
– Multitasking increases anxiety & raises cortisol, the stress hormone
– Multitasking increases the decision-making load and can lead to less decision-making capacity
– Prefrontal cortex has a novelty bias (Meaning it can be hijacked by switching to a new task)
– Learning while multitasking causes information to be stored in the wrong part of the brain:
– the striatum: Region specialised for storing procedures and skills
– Hippocampus: Region specialised for storing ideas and facts
– The anterior cingulate and the striatum are responsible for staying on task
– Staying on task uses less energy and less glucose
– Article discusses societal norms and pressures for instant communication
– Article contends answering emails, text messages, Facebook posts etc., constitutes a “neural addiction” where the PFC is hijacked by novelty seeking & receives dopamine rewards



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