Through a recent technology called fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) it's now possible to see what's happening within the brain in real time. We have learned that our brains are able to do two things at once, but only if the functions required occur in separate parts of the brain.
For example, you can read a book and hear music just fine. One part of your brain handles the visual stimuli from the book while another part of your brain processes the auditory stimuli from the music. There's not interference. But throw in music with lyrics while you're reading, and you have a problem because now the language processing part of the brain is doing double-duty. While the brain can do double-duty, it cannot process both things simultaneously. Rather it switches back and forth very, very fast: words on the page to words in the music. Back and forth, back and forth, switch-switch-switch-switch-switch. Relaxing, right?
We can train our brains to switch faster, but the number and complexity of things we're asking our brains to switch back and forth and to and from is increasing. We keep pulling on the tasks we're asking our brains to keep track of so we can have it all and do it all. We listen to the promises of how wonderful this is or how time-saving that is and add layer upon layer upon layer to our lives. When the promises are broken, we end up buried under all that stuff, resentful, over-stimulated, and tired. The more things we cram into our lives, the more ways we feel obligated to produce.
The very things we thought were supposed to make our lives easier have turned it into a nightmare. We're getting stressed out.
The above is excerpted from chapter 2 in #Hooked: The Pitfalls of Media, Technology and Social Networking by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources.