Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Where Was I?
I suspect that computers cause Attention Deficit Disorder.
For all I know, there’s already research to support or reject this suspicion -- I haven’t done any reading on the subject. But I know when I work on the computer I often find myself trying to do ten things at once, and bouncing from one task to the next before I finish any of them. The situation is expecially crazy at work, where I have TWO computers on my desk.
(Oops -- sorry -- I just popped over to iTunes for a minute to see if my search for Ralph Vaughan Williams turned up anything. And it did! Yay!)
I find that I am especially easily distracted if the computer begins performing a task that takes a little time. For example, if I need to download something, I’ll launch into another task while the download occurs -- and then I get wrapped up in that and forget about the download entirely! We’ve all had this happen, I’m sure.
Computers foster this kind of activity because with a few keystrokes you can be off on an entirely different trajectory without ever leaving your seat. (Oops -- pardon me -- my Flickr download is complete so I need to caption my photos. Be right back.)
So, yeah, what was I saying? Oh -- right -- different trajectory. I think there’s something about working with books and papers that’s more focused. You don’t need to wait for a machine to do anything or take you anywhere, so there’s less opportunity for your mind to wander. It can keep sustained concentration on a single subject.
ADD seemed to really rise to prominence at about the same time as computers. And don’t even get me started on video games! Of course, this doesn’t prove causation, but I suspect there is a link -- I think young people would better train their minds to concentrate if they weren’t so scattered in all their electronic activities.
(‘Scuse me for a second while I edit a picture on Flickr now that the photo editing program has launched...)
OK...now...what was I saying?
(Photo: Think twice, Coney Island, March 2009)