If you take it really seriously, parenthood is the most challenging job you’ll ever have. The hours are long and the pay stinks. It requires the most emotional investment and the greatest patience. And no matter how well you do it, there will always be that nagging little voice in your head wondering, “Should I have handled that differently?” But parenthood is also the most rewarding and important role you’ll ever play. And the good news is that we're all in this together...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


For years now, I’ve been beating the drum about the ineffectiveness of multi-tasking, which we all do, especially with regards to electronics – chatting on the phone while we’re driving or cooking or skimming through email, reading the paper while listening to NPR, constantly interrupting any project required sustained thought to check text messages or twitter…But in truth, we’re not really doing several things at once. Rather the brain is shifting quickly and constantly between separate tasks, which not only over stimulates the brain and leads to muddled thinking but releases stress and anxiety-producing hormones. And if we’re actually trying to learn something, like reading important information while watching TV, the brain diverts new information to the wrong part of the brain for proper storage and easy access.

Yet the pleasure and novelty seeking parts of our brain light up with interaction like text or email exchanges, giving us a sense of social connection and a task completed, but leading to a kind of neural addiction. In his fascination article in The Guardian: “Why the Modern World is Bad for Your Brain, ” neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitan adds, “Just having the opportunity to multitask is detrimental to cognitive performance. Glenn Wilson, former visiting professor of psychology at Gresham College, London, calls it info-mania. His research found that being in a situation where you are trying to concentrate on a task, and an email is sitting unread in your inbox, can reduce your effective IQ by 10 points.” 

This can have an especially profound impact on the developing brain (it's still a work in progress til around age 25), and I fear kids are actually hard-wiring their circuitry to be less able to focus on issues demanding more in-depth thinking...

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