Modern technology is melting your brain. Constantly flipping between different devices is the reason you are less productive, tired and forgetful. Or so we’re repeatedly warned.
Switching between apps, is proven to regulate dopamine production and actually ‘lights up’ the same part of your brain as cocaine. So it’s no wonder then that we’re all turning into addicts. Surely we should all get ourselves checked into technology retreats ASAP, or could the trend be having other more positive side effects?
Our office is frequently occupied with the subject of creativity and the way it works. An important part of the process is the cross-pollination of ideas. An article in last weekend’s FT highlighted a surprise benefit for our modern multi-tasking lifestyles. It could be making us more creative.
Research now tells us that people who find it hard to concentrate on more than one thing, naturally do something that makes them more creative. There’s a link between being very creative and the natural response humans have to tune out irrelevant stimulation.
If you aren’t able to filter out background noise very easily, you are actually letting more information in. Allowing for combined or uncombined new ideas to flourish. So if you’re one of the unlucky people who just can’t focus with lots of noise around you, you’re quite likely to be very creative. Rather heartening for those school time day dreams out there.
As Harvard professor Shelley Carson says, ‘Think on that, uni-taskers: while you busily try focus on one thing at a time, the people who struggle to filter out the buzz of the world are being reviewed in The New Yorker’.
So next time you’re working on a really tricky problem. Stop focusing on it so hard and do something completely different to induce ‘fixation forgetting’. Which could very well leave you free to come across just the answer you’ve been looking for.