Digital multi tasking is starving brains of downtime, scientists claim

A study suggests that the saturation of digital media may be forfeiting valuable downtime needed for the brain to retain information and formulate ideas.

Alarmed at the prevalence of digital inputs now competing for our attentions, and their unpredictable side effects, scientists at the University of California are urging people to rediscover silence as a medium to clear heads as without these breaks the brain struggles to create a persistent memory of our experiences.

They fear that as individuals we are increasingly shunning quiet spells in our day spent queuing or during lulls in conversation with a cacophony of audio and visual stimulus which is distracting our minds from the day to day business of cataloguing our brains storehouse of knowledge.

Indeed it is the growth of smartphones such as Blackberry which most users cite as draining their free time, with addicts scanning their phones during any lull in activity to maximise their productivity.

Perhaps in our switched on society it’s time we re-learned how to switch off.

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