Brainfood: Are you suffering from - Pseudo A.D.D

Do you have to check your e-mails every 10 seconds? Do you routinely look at your phone as you once did your watch? At the opera with clients, are you secretly reading your BlackBerry? If so, you may be suffering from what John Ratey, an associate professor at Harvard University Medical School, calls Pseudo Attention Deficit Disorder. Ratey found that the more gadgets we have to distract us, the more distracted we become. E-mails that bob up and down to get our attention and instant messaging make it difficult to stay in what psychologists call the 'flow'. Treatment is being devised in far-flung technical laboratories. Scientists predict that e-mails will one day rank themselves in terms of importance, knowing when not to interrupt. Meanwhile, it may be wise to follow the principles we teach our children, such as no dessert until you have eaten your main course. You can take your BlackBerry to the opera but you can only check it during intervals - and only if the client can't see you.

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor -
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

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