Monday, April 9, 2012

Purposeful Diversion

In Carr's article, The Juggler's Brain, he talks about some distractions as being beneficial to problem solving.
"...breaks in our attention give our unconscious mind time to grapple with a problem, bringing to bear information and cognitive processes unavailable to conscious deliberation. We usually make better decisions, his experiments reveal, if we shift our attention away from a difficult mental challenge for a time."

In an article I found online, Seven Strategies to Inspire and Nurture Creativity in Ourselves, the author agrees with Carr's statement. She suggests that in order to nurture creativity, a person needs to: keep a journal, go for a walk, read more and volunteer among other non-computer activities. Or, in other words, give the mind a break with a "purposeful diversion."

Do you agree with Carr that the internet's constant distractions keep us from thinking either deeply or creatively? What do you think the future holds for our youth, accustomed to days of distracted and scattered internet activity and cell phone use? Do you take time away from the computer for purposeful diversion?


  1. I completely agree; according to Klout (the social influence "scorekeeper") I'm a "specialist" in nutrition and analytics. I guess, if you're just considering the amount of obesity research-related tweets I spout off, or the amount of nutrition articles I share on Facebook. I feel that this sort of communicative outlet is necessary to stay in the social game in today's world. However, I often find that, in the rush to tweet this new headline or post about this new resource, I haven't really read the content source enough to truly grasp the details or intended purpose. This is frustrating for me, because oftentimes at the end of the day I am left with the impression of having done a lot of discussion about research, when I have really only skimmed the surface via tweeting the headlines of the latest articles.

    Purposeful diversion, I feel, is especially critical for youth. Research shows (and I've actually thoroughly read this research! :D ) that being outdoors and taking a walk, for example, away from the tethered life is beneficial for mental, physical, and emotional health. "Last Child in the Woods" is a great book about this very issue.

  2. I totally agree. WHen I went back to China last summer and had dinner with my parents, a family sitting next to us. The boy was playing with iPad without talking with his parents and the parents were talking a little bit and sometimes checked their smartphones.

    I thought it is bad if the technology changes our life like this. I thought about my childhood with my parents. There were no much fancy things like today but we were happy and felt closed to each other.

    Also, more teenage students starting using smartphone now, and my friend who is a teacher in English school told me that whenever she asked a question, students will try to find the answer using google or whatever on their smart[hone. They are not thinking and trying to find the answer.