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Frequent Notifications Tire the Brain - the Problem of Switching

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by Ruryse, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. Ruryse

    Ruryse Active Member Staff Member

    Notifications of internet subscriptions, news feeds, email newsletters and the likes are the opposite of what they're supposed to be, because multitasking doesn't exist. Instead of being useful of how they provide one with information, they turn out to be a real chore.


    Not only do they make people feel like they have to be on the watch constantly to not miss any of the data arrived on their devices. They actually lessen the interest even towards topics that the user originally subscribed for, because they disrupt the attention from any activity the person is doing in the moment.

    Of course they can get annoying for the obvious reason of when the uploader of the video or the poster of the blog or website simply feels the need to keep churning out content, even when they don't have anything new, meaningful or interesting to say.

    But the real problem is that the brain is forced into switching way too often. It's tiresome and slows down cognition, and it can cause permanent alterations to the brain, in the form of lowering gray-matter density.
    softboober and ListenNighGlint like this.
  2. ListenNighGlint

    ListenNighGlint Active Member Staff Member

    I try to use my phone as little as necessary... not much of a social media person either.

    I didn't know it creates actual changes in the brain... though the results of the study are based on self-report. Can it be that this situation was created deliberately, to mentally tire people?

    Or it's more like how people who are more susceptible to use media this way were born with lower gray matter density? :eek:
    Ruryse likes this.
  3. Ruryse

    Ruryse Active Member Staff Member

    For better results, people would need to be monitored for some time instead, so yeah, self-report is not the most accurate way to check into things.

    If you mean the frequent stimulation induced by popular devices, I would say yes. Even if not directly for power oriented manipulation purposes, certainly for business oriented manipulation. The more one's forced to use something, the closer their relationship will be with the device, and the more dependent they become on it. If it breaks or there's a new version, they'll be the first ones to buy it again.

    This is the other side of the coin and is probably also true. Certain people are easier to manipulate this way, just like how some of them fall for ads so easily.
  4. softboober

    softboober Active Member

    Man, do I find this annoying. I've accumulated a millions of Youtube subscriptions, but lately I started seriously thinning them. I find myself not wanting to watch stuff if it keeps coming into my face constantly. And that's even if I'm interested in both the topic and the actual video. o_O It's just tiring. I also never subscribe to those website thingies that keep popping up lately on news pages etc. I can find my way back to the site without being reminded, thank you.

    Ya I bet it's the same for sites, and also how FB tailors its content to your own, previously monitored browsing preferences. I wonder though if for some autistic people, this kind of stimulation causes pleasure. You know how there are people who like to learn entire phone books, or enjoy counting things for the sake of it. I can image they actually enjoy having loads of subscriptions and getting as many notifications as they can. So I'm not sure it's only the more manipulable and gullible people who have brain differences. Maybe they just have other kind of symptoms compared to the autistic ones.

    If they knew about being monitored, it could alter their behaviour though, and that sorta defies the purpose. And being monitored without knowing about it, I doubt anyone could push through something unethical like that, and make a public study about it. I bet it has been done though, 'behind the curtains'.
    Ruryse likes this.
  5. Ruryse

    Ruryse Active Member Staff Member

    After doing this a lot like you, I realized that the real gift is not to gather as much information as you can, but to be able to discard what you don't need. To intuitively find a golden path and reject all the things you don't need to know.


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