This is your brain on an adventure

by Carl Natale on August 16, 2010

Here is your brain on a mountain

Here is your brain on a mountain

The New York Times has a fascinating story about the effect of multitasking, digital communication and nature on the brain. Here’s the premise:

It was a primitive trip with a sophisticated goal: to understand how heavy use of digital devices and other technology changes how we think and behave, and how a retreat into nature might reverse those effects.

via Your Brain on Computers – Studying the Brain Off the Grid, Professors Find Clarity –

At first glance, it’s a no brainer. Take time off and unplug from the daily stress, your brain will relax and perform better.

But this is about a group of scientist paddling down a remote river who are trying to figure out if this kind of recreation is better because it is in a natural setting and if digital communication is detrimental to our brains.

This brings up two theories I would like to explore:

  1. That when we’re anticipating e-mails, phone calls, updates and alerts it occupies mental resources. That creates multitasking. Thus our brains can’t function at peak performance.
  2. I wonder if natural settings amplify the unplugging therapy because it’s an environment that our subconscious knows and is more familiar with. We still are creatures of evolution. Our instincts are based upon experiences in the wild. Maybe we are really at home in the great outdoors.

This really could lead to a break through in understanding who we are and how we can become better.

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