Still more brain games

Goodness, an embarrassment of riches. Now Takchess has posted about the book Everything Bad is Good for You, the premise being “that some of the new trends in pop culture are making us smarter. That popular media Television, Video Games, Movies are becoming more complex and engaging and improving our analytical skills.”

I have often wondered specifically about multitasking . The stereotype of the teen doing homework, IMing and listening to his iPod with the TV on – while a colleague tells me that rigorous studies indicate that when you multitask your ability to  absorb & recall new information is clearly diminished, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the ability to execute multiple cognitive tasks more or less simultaneously isn’t valuable.

But if you’re trying to learn something new, by all means turn off all distractions and concentrate.


14 thoughts on “Still more brain games

  1. I really like your posts on this topic of learning things. They are great. I agree that it is important to be able to do many different things at one time. Especially with kids my age entering the workforce who are used to having so much information thrown at them at once. I think a lot about how communication has changed and how that affects the workplace, relationships, education, etc. A lot of people have said that we are losing intimacy, etc. by allowing technology to be so prevalent (like MMORPGs and “hanging out” remotely). I think that those who hold up traditional values as if they are absolute are close-minded and need to look at the fact that change is not bad. I think that the people in my generation are accustomed to the fact that all of these technologies are available and they realize that they are just tools, how you use them is up to you. This is the same as multi-tasking, everyone knows it is easier to do one thing at a time, but we have gotten so used to dealing with other things while we are working that unless there is something extremely important there is no reason to “put down” our normal life just to write a paper or do a project for work.

  2. Kevin – thanks. I think it’s a pretty natural phenomenon that as you get older and older, the world seems weirder and weirder (relative to whenever you started, which seems “normal” for whatever reason). Probably at some point you get old enough that you just figure, I don’t have to keep up with all these stupid changes any more :)

  3. I agree with the “don’t have to keep up” attitude, except that I am interested to see what happens with my generation because keeping up is all we know. Like if you were a kid when my parents were kids and you saw the color tv come out, and then the microwave come out, that’s all you had to really adapt to. Not like watching cell phones, the internet, pcs, notebooks, “Web 2.0”, GPS, mp3 player, etc. come out. We just know that these things change at light speed and that there is always something new, which is something that no other generation has had to come to terms with so significantly. I think that we are different somehow but of course I am in my early 20’s and that is when people think like that so…..

  4. The European credit cards: MasterCard, Visa (Gold/Platinum/Corparate/Bissnes/Signature), all cards workers, a guarantee, balance of cards from 2000 $, behind the detailed information and the prices write:XXXXXXX, or ICQ XXXXXXX.

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  5. I was going to say something on topic and profound about how I use PCT for tactics training while surfing the web (I use the in-between time as pages load etc).

    But now all I can think of are credit cards and I must contact the previous poster. A card maestro indeed!

  6. Well drunknknite, I’m old enough to remember Color TVs, ATMs, and microwaves being new things and I think I’m doing OK in this ever changing world. In fact, I love this stuff. It’s basically science fiction happening right before our eyes.

    The near future is going to hold some amazing, amazing stuff. Quantum computers, stem cell therapy, nanotechnology, etc. are going to change our lives in very fundemental ways. We’ll all continue to muddle along just fine.

    I can’t wait.


  7. Tacticus – Yeah, those cards sound like a good deal. Give it a shot and let us know how it turns out :) Spam has a certain amusement value eh.

    Kevin – Exactly. This is your “normal”.

    Matt – That’s a great attitude for such an astonishingly old person. :) People in technology-related work may have a small advantage in this regard. When I started at Computerworld (1990), the reason I found it interesting was that there was always something new to learn.

  8. Derek: Did you take out the spam links or did it just show up that way?

    Matt: I’m in my 20’s and future tech frightens me. Not a failure to be able to handle the tech per se, but the vision of a tech-empowered dystopia always creeps up somehow.

  9. Great article.
    Okay I’m a child of the 80’s… oh wait 70’s.
    Any of you youngsters remember PONG…
    If I sit a rotary phone in front of you will you know what to do????
    Well and I think 8 tracks were on their way out.

    Hey Derek, funny thing happened in my status meeting. One of the members of my team shared the link to your website!!!

    This is AWESOME!!!!!!!

    Keep up the great work.


  10. Hey Regina – Pong, of course. State of the art electronic entertainment there. In fact there was a contemporary game called Haunted House or something that used the same moving blips of light – but you had to tape a plastic overlay (or a haunted house) over your TV screen to play the game.

    My theory on rotary phones is that someday nobody will remember why people say “dial” a phone number. Then again, maybe nobody does any more except me.

    Um, the work story is nice (thanks) but also very odd. I can’t imagine any job where this would be a relevant site :)

  11. Deke, this is the first time I’ve been called “astonishingly old.” I kind of like it! :)

    No offense LEP, but I’ve always lumped people afraid of technology right in there with tin foil hat wearers, survivalists, and the like. There’s too much money in tech innovation for it to get a bad reputation as dystopia inducing.

    Anyway, if I’m wrong, dytopias are kinda cool. :) I love stories, movies, etc. about that stuff.


  12. It’s not the tech per se that’s scary…it’s just inevitable people will find ways to abuse it. And as technology gets more powerful, the consequences of misuse will continue to get steeper.

    Dystopia stories are cool. Living in one, I’d have to say would be a little different. And that’s an aluminum foil hat I’m wearing, thank you very much.

  13. Remember, Donnie is a neolibertanarchist.

    All this brings us back to Roger Zelazny and Philip K Dick. Not to beat a dead horse, but if you haven’t read Lord of Light, it’s exactly about what some people will do given power and a technology edge.

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