Michael Lerner

Thursday - Sep 9, 2010

SmartphoneAt the risk of sounding like a cranky old man, I have to admit my increasing annoyance with people fixated on their mobile devices, oblivious to everyone and everything around them. Have you been jostled by someone walking down the street, texting? Or someone blocking a doorway, playing a game? (Feel free to vent in the comments section below.)

While the self-absorbed may think they’re being productive, filling every second with a digital fix may be counter-productive. According to Loren Frank, an assistant physiology professor at the University of California, San Francisco, the brain needs to rest. “Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories.” With constant stimulation  “you prevent this learning process.”

What happens when people unplug? The New York Times asked people to do just that and describe their experiences. Watch the videos for some surprising revelations.

Have you turned off and tuned out? Share your experience.