Maggie Jackson - Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age
Posted: 11 July 2008 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Maggie Jackson is an award-winning author and journalist who writes the popular “Balancing Acts” column in the Boston Globe. Her work also has appeared in the New York Times and on National Public Radio, among other national publications. Her acclaimed first book, What’s Happening to Home? Balancing Work, Life and Refuge in the Information Age, examined the loss of home as a refuge. Her newest book is Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age.

In this interview with D.J. Grothe, Maggie Jackson discusses her controversial thesis about the downsides of the information age, and how the distractions from modern technologies lead to less critical thinking and less fulfilled lives. She explores the causes and effects of the erosion of attention, including media culture, the internet and personal communication devices, and even our fast-food culture, and how these impact relationships, work and personal identity. She details some advances in “attention science,” a field in cognitive neuroscience, and what it tells us about how people can overcome their distractions. And she shares what listeners can do to stop the erosion of attention in their lives.

http://www.pointofinquiry.org

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Posted: 16 July 2008 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You know what else distracts us from thinking and reflection? Books.

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Posted: 16 July 2008 02:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Just finished listening to the show - very interesting.

It was quite relevant to something that occurred to me yesterday. My 7 year old son had his school report. In this report, the teachers mentioned that he liked to take extra time to make sure that his work was of a high standard and accurate before he finished it. They were saying that it was more important to get lots of different things done quickly in the short time periods that they allocate for their tasks (I actually felt the need to blog about this earlier! http://www.hancockfamily.org.uk/?p=37). Yes, multi-tasking is a good thing, but you would that schools should also encourage children to spend time thinking about things and ‘doing it right’ not ‘doing it fast’

Simon

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“If I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn’t have been worth the Nobel Prize” - Richard P. Feynman

“Is it just me…?” http://www.hancockfamily.org.uk

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Posted: 16 July 2008 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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somersetsimon - 16 July 2008 02:41 PM

Just finished listening to the show - very interesting.

It was quite relevant to something that occurred to me yesterday. My 7 year old son had his school report. In this report, the teachers mentioned that he liked to take extra time to make sure that his work was of a high standard and accurate before he finished it. They were saying that it was more important to get lots of different things done quickly in the short time periods that they allocate for their tasks (I actually felt the need to blog about this earlier! http://www.hancockfamily.org.uk/?p=37). Yes, multi-tasking is a good thing, but you would that schools should also encourage children to spend time thinking about things and ‘doing it right’ not ‘doing it fast’

Simon

“If you haven’t got the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”

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Posted: 16 July 2008 07:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I don’t see clearly that our atention has been suffered in the last years. Yes, maybe we have more kids now with attention problems, but it could mean that we know more about behaviour and mental disorders.

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Posted: 17 July 2008 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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It was an interesting show, except that she seemed to make a lot of assertions as to cause for these problems, without back up.
Maybe her book has more references to studies and such that would back up these assertions.

I used to think that multi-tasking was good and that I was really good at it, but know I think that there is much loss of efficiency in the context switching.

One of the worst culprits I see is the damn sound everyone’s blackberrys make when they receive and email, suddenly no-one is paying attention, esp. if they all receive the same email from the big boss.

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Posted: 21 July 2008 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Distracted sounds like it will be an interesting read. I recently read Susan Jacoby’s The Age of American Unreason after listening to DJ’s podcast with her. I think there will be parallels between the two books based on what Maggie Jackson was saying. One of Susan Jacoby’s main ideas is that we ought not to let babies and children watch so much tv/video. Her contention is that it turns them into passive people who find books boring. The visuals and music of tv and video overwhelm the senses, she thinks, and then prevent children from ever being able to focus well. Maggie Jackson would probably agree with that assessment. Her anecdote about the “quiet rooms” in the airport is so typical. Anywhere you go there is “background” music on or a TV - doctors offices, stores, restaurants, interstate rest stops, etc. I have difficulty reading and thinking with all that noise. When I read now I seldom turn on any music although I always used to have it on at home. I think I just can’t bear the constant sound anymore. And if you watch television you know that there is never a moment of silence. If there is you look to see what went wrong. I’m older and remember when they weren’t so good at fitting all the commercials in between the tv shows. Very often there would be a gap in the sound and even then it seemed like a relief!

Thanks for another interesting interview!

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There is no method of reasoning more common, and yet none more blameable, than, in philosophical disputes, to endeavour the refutation of any hypothesis, by a pretence of its dangerous consequences to religion and morality. David Hume in An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding

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Posted: 26 July 2008 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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You should all be reading books right now. The internet is very distracting. shame.
You shouldnt even be reading this.

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Posted: 27 April 2009 02:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Foreclosure is really a devastating experience for a homeowner who lived and loved the house all her life. However, if they can’t afford the house to keep then foreclosing it could be the best thing to do. Foreclosure may not be a worry to some, but to others, foreclosure looms dark on the horizon, paralyzing the potentially foreclosed with fear and loathing.  The loss of home is a terrifying prospect; many look into any and all options to stall foreclosure.  A payday loan can get you your next payment funds early, but you must pay it back for a fee, so the best way to guard against foreclosure is to decrease expenses and increase income in any way possible.  However, if a payday loan can hold you over until a refinance can be completed, it might be the best thing for you. When borrowing money, be wise in your decision, as adding debt to cover other debt is a stall at best in the short term, ruinous over long term.  A short term loan is only a temporary guard against foreclosure.

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Posted: 29 April 2009 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Never mind.  Didn’t spot the original post’s date. Duh. wink

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