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Saturday, April 23, 2005

Email Destroys The Mind Faster Than Marijuana!!

We recently covered Om Malik's writing on Internet Anxiety Disorder The Guardian reports about an interesting study on the impact messaging technology and usage have on human cognitive abilities. Excerpts with edits:

Modern technology depletes human cognitive abilities more rapidly than drugs, according to a psychiatric study conducted at King's College, London. The distractions of constant emails, text and phone messages are a greater threat to IQ and concentration than taking cannabis, according to a survey of befuddled volunteers. Doziness, lethargy and an increasing inability to focus reached "startling" levels in the trials by 1,100 people, who also demonstrated that emails in particular have an addictive, drug-like grip. Productivity at work was damaged and the effect on staff who could not resist trying to juggle new messages with existing work was the equivalent, over a day, to the loss of a night's sleep. The average IQ loss was measured at 10 points, more than double the four point mean fall found in studies of cannabis users. The most damage was done, according to the survey, by the almost complete lack of discipline in handling emails. Dr Wilson and his colleagues found a compulsion to reply to each new message, leading to constant changes of direction which inevitably tired and slowed down the brain. Manners are also going by the board, with one in five of the respondents breaking off from meals or social engagements to receive and deal with messages. Although nine out of 10 agreed that answering messages during face-to-face meetings or office conferences was rude, a third nonetheless felt that this had become "acceptable and seen as a sign of diligence and efficiency".In fact, it is a recipe for muddled thinking and poor performance and Companies should encourage a more balanced and appropriate way of working by avoiding email traffic during holidays. How true.. A couple of days time off from this constant barrage of intrusion makes one fee as if we enter a new life - particularly the blackberry technology makes people almost look insane!! The damage to our system is really true - no escaping from this fact - the sooner we find a solution to this menace - it is good for the individual and the society.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"