Office workers are becoming addicted to email in a desperate search for “pellets of social nourishment”, according to Nicholas Carr author of The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains.
Researchers have discovered that for each bit of new information we find our brain releases a pleasure inducing chemical called dopamine, a fact which may explain a survey which showed that the average British office worker will find themselves compelled to scan their inbox at least 30 times an hour.
Carr believes that email exploits a basic human instinct to forage for new information, leading to an addiction to our inboxes.
Carr said: “What makes digital messages all the more compelling is their uncertainty. There’s always the possibility that something important is waiting for us in our inbox …[which] overwhelms our knowledge that most online missives are trivial.”
Concerns abound that our increasing embrace of digital technology for instant gratification is causing real harm to our ability to engage in deep and prolonged thought.