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Unable to focus? Welcome to our distracted society's attention deficit
Date:6/19/2008

Cell phones, Blackberries, e-mail, laptops allowing people to bring their work anywhere, news arriving in perfectly condensed and filtered snippets via the Internet and TV, never before has communication been so instantaneous and information distributed so quickly. Never before have people been so connected.

One would assume that this preponderance of advanced communication technology would promote a well-informed and close-knit society. While this is true to some extent and there are many benefits to be gained from these technologies, award-winning author and journalist Maggie Jackson surprisingly has found that compared to past generations, we are in fact less capable of quality analytical thinking, more ignorant about many issues, and more fragmented as a community. Never before have we been so disconnected. This, she concludes, is due to the erosion of attention. After extensively researching the history of communication and transportation technology, today's society, and scientific studies of human cognition, Jackson has documented her compelling case and some possible remedies in DISTRACTED: THE EROSION OF ATTENTION AND THE COMING DARK AGE (Prometheus Books, $25.95).

MIT professor Alan Lightman calls it, "an important booka harrowing documentation of our modern world's descent into fragmentation, self alienation, and emptinessbrought on, to a large extent, by communication technologies that distract us, dislocate us, and destroy our inner lives."

Jackson's definition of "attention" stems from studies in neuroscience that have identified a cognitive system comprised of three networksawareness, focus, and executive attention (planning and decision making)that work together to act as the "brain's conductor, leading the orchestration of our minds." The awareness and focus networks are systems responsible for gathering information about the environment, and the executive attention network is responsible for making decisions ba
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Contact: Jill Maxick
jmaxick@prometheusbooks.com
800-853-7545
Prometheus Books
Source:Eurekalert  

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