Why You Get Dumber Every Time You Text (or Email or Facebook Post)
Do you ever have the feeling that the world is getting dumber and dumber by the minute? (With the exception of you, of course).
Well, its not in your head. (For once, right?)
While stumbling down the proverbial rabbit whole of the world wide interwebs, I happened upon a very interesting passage from a book called “Your Brain at Work” by David Rock.
“A study done at the University of London found that constant emailing and text-messaging reduces mental capability by an average of ten points on an IQ test. It was five points for women, and fifteen points for men.
This effect is similar to missing a night of sleep.
For men, it’s around three times more than the effect of smoking cannabis.
While this fact might make an interesting dinner party topic, it’s really not that amusing that one of the most common ‘productivity tools’ can make one as dumb as a stoner.
(Apologies to technology manufacturers: there are good ways to use this technology, specifically being able to ‘switch off’ for hours at a time.)
‘Always on’ may not be the most productive way to work. (…) The brain is being forced to be on ‘alert’ far too much. This increases what is known as your allostatic load, which is a reading of stress hormones and other factors relating to a sense of threat.
The wear and tear from this has an impact.(…) This (state of) always on (…) has created an artificial sense of constant crisis.
What happens to mammals in a state of constant crisis is the adrenalized fight-or-flight mechanism kicks in. It’s great when tigers are chasing us. How many of those five hundred emails a day is a tiger?”
The takeaway points?
Basically that, by surfing the net, checking my email, scrolling Instagram, and contributing to an on-going text conversation with my BFF — all AT THE SAME TIME— I become a little dumber. Literally and neuro-scientifically dumber. As mentioned above, according to David Rock this “always on” stuff can decrease a gal’s IQ by as much as 5 points! (Plus as mentioned above, a guy’s IQ decreases by 15 points!)
But that’s not the worst of it. By being continually “plugged in,” we have put ourselves into a perpetual state of stress. No wonder I have a major anxiety problem! (And I’m a YOGA TEACHER!).
Certainly, none of us can afford to add more stress into our already busy lives – nor can we afford to lose any brain cells!
Then again, my BFF just texted me, my latest IG post is blowing up my phone, and shopbop just refreshed its feed…So, what’s a modern girl to do?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Evan Cooper is a yoga teacher, wellness coach, writer, mama, seeker, dreamer.
She’s the author of Um, Like…OM: A Girl Goddess’s Guide To Yoga (Little, Brown & Co.)
She is currently teaching yoga in LA and penning her thoughts at www.spiritandsole.net and evancooper.com where she ruminates on being a “spiritual girl in a material world”™.