The ability to filter out irrelevant info declines with age. So what sorts of technological aids can reduce the flow of irrelevant stimuli?
A University of Toronto study shows that visual attention ó the brainís ability to selectively filter unattended or unwanted information from reaching awareness ó diminishes with age, leaving older adults less capable of filtering out distracting or irrelevant information. Further, this age-related "leaky" attentional filter fundamentally impacts the way visual information is encoded into memory. Older adults with impaired visual attention have better memory for "irrelevant" information. The research, conducted by members of U of Tís Department of Psychology, will be published Wednesday, November 3 in the Journal of Neuroscience.
I've long thought it would help to create less cluttered workplaces, reduce lighting, put up more real walls rather than cubicle walls, and reduce sources of interrupt. The advantage of doing so probably increases with age. Aging minds are probably more easily distracted into taking note of many sort of off-topic things in an environment.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- People spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they're doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy. So says a study that used an iPhone web app to gather 250,000 data points on subjects' thoughts, feelings, and actions as they went about their lives.
The research, by psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert of Harvard University, is described this week in the journal Science.
"A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind," Killingsworth and Gilbert write. "The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost."
The researchers believe the direction of causation is from mind-wandering to unhappiness, rather than the other way around.
Time-lag analyses conducted by the researchers suggested that their subjects' mind-wandering was generally the cause, not the consequence, of their unhappiness.
"Many philosophical and religious traditions teach that happiness is to be found by living in the moment, and practitioners are trained to resist mind wandering and to 'be here now,'" Killingsworth and Gilbert note in Science. "These traditions suggest that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind."
This new research, the authors say, suggests that these traditions are right.
Stay on topic and stay in the present. You'll be happier if you can manage this.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2010 November 11 10:19 PM Aging Brain Studies|