Apparently, your brain is working four times faster than it was a generation ago here's why.
You're in the middle of a conversation with a colleague while simultaneously checking your email and scanning your smart phone for incoming messages. Or maybe you're tapping away on your laptop while keeping half an eye on the less-than-gripping drama being played out on the TV screen.
If either of those scenarios seem vaguely familiar, you may be interested to learn that new research has discovered something really quite remarkable. It seems that the combination of hectic modern lifestyles and modern technology has fundamentally affected how our brains work.
According to the research, conducted for lastminute.com, all that mental dexterity might leave you feeling a bit brain dead, but that's because your brain is working four times faster than it was a generation ago.
This is happening because life has become more fast-paced, says brain development specialist Dr David Lewis, who conducted the research. Three-quarters of both genders say their lives have speeded up in the last decade.
"Our brains have had to adapt to modern life over the past decade (and) they've developed into a parallel structure rather than a sequential one," says Dr Lewis.
"This means we can think about, and process, more than one piece of information at any given time rather than just being able to focus on one after another."
Modern life means they're doing several tasks at once, rather than finishing one before moving on to another. In a nutshell, they're multitasking, and that's as true for men's brains as women's.
According to Damon Young, author of Distraction: A Philosopher's Guide to Being Free, multitasking "is often required by employers, or work culture. Good employees must be 'available' even after hours and on weekends."
So we work and socialise. Or eat and text. Or watch X Factor while writing emails. In other words, we have no off button.
All this activity means that, as well as multitasking, many of us are doing things even everyday things at a faster pace in an attempt to fit everything in.
A fifth of men say they're walking more quickly than they used to, while 10 per cent think they talk more quickly. Many men say they eat and work faster than ever, too. Doing things quickly, like doing more things at the same time, takes processing power (just ask your computer), another reason our brains are working harder than ever. Making quick decisions, in particular, takes real mental acumen.
"We're now, more than ever before, making instant judgments," says Dr Lewis. "Long gone are the days when you had four minutes to create an impression on someone you've just met. In the digital age you've, at best, one-hundredth of a second to make an impression."
One consequence of all this is that more of us are leaving things to the last minute. According to the research, 42 per cent of men leave buying birthday presents to the last minute, 25 per cent of us pay bills at the last minute and 16 per cent of us book holidays at the last minute.
Is that a good thing? Possibly not. Only 40 per cent of men, according to the survey, successfully juggle more than one task (many more women do). Modern life may force men to multitask, but for many of us it doesn't come naturally. We may be leaving things to the last minute because we're too rushed to do it with time to spare.
That doesn't surprise Damon Young. He thinks multitasking is often doing several things half-heartedly rather than one thing well.
"When we move from our job to an email, it takes about a minute to recover our train of thought. And then we get another email, or an SMS, so our concentration is fractured. The result? We're not really multitasking. We're switching between tasks in an unfocused or clumsy way."
So it's good that we're adapting albeit (for men) slowly with the demands of modern life, and particularly new technology. But it seems that all that frantic multitasking might not be making the best use of men's brains. Sometimes turning the phone ringer off, closing your email programme and taking one task at a time is a better way to work. It might mean using less brain power, but focusing it more productively.
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