We are all cyborgs now

We are all cyborgs now
Amber Case, TED 2010

when you have no external input, that is a time when there is a creation of self, when you can do long-term planning, when you can try and figure out who you really are.

kids today, they’re not going to be dealing with this downtime


Social media hurts your short-term memory

4 Ways Social Media Is Making You Dumber
OPEN Forum. American Express Company. December 02, 2013
Mike Periu
Director, Council for Economic Education

Social media hurts your short-term memory.
Erik Fransen is a globally recognized expert on short-term memory at Stockholm’s Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (Royal Institute of Technology) and is affiliated with the Stockholm Brain Institute.

His research indicates that overuse of social media hurts the brain in two ways:

  • First it impacts short-term memory formation.
    The fire hose stream of information that you subject your brain to during a typical session on Twitter or Facebook overloads your brain’s ability to process data and file away the important elements.
  • Continually subjecting your brain to social media also prevents the brain from entering the “down time” mode it needs for internal clean up, storage and information transfer.
    Staring out the window in the back of a taxi is actually good for your brain.

Online time can hobble brain’s important work
Sep 20, 2013
While you are browsing online, you could be squandering memories – or losing important information.


Is Smart Technology Making Us Dumb?
May 20, 2015

Escaping the here and now

Escaping the here and now: Evidence for a role of the default mode network in perceptually decoupled thought
NeuroImage, 2013, 69, 120-125.
Smallwood, J. et al.

Cognition that is not based on perception can lead to at least two different outcomes.
In some situations, cognition that is independent of perception can allow actions to be selected other than those prescribed by immediate perceptual input.
In others, cognition can be independent of perception and unrelated to the current behavioral goal allowing thoughts to develop that are largely independent of the actions involved in an external task.
The default mode network (DMN) has been implicated in both of these kinds of perceptually decoupled thought.
The current experiment used functional magnetic resonance imaging to explore whether a common region of this network was co-activated by both of these states.
Both the medial pre-frontal cortex and the posterior cingulate – two major hubs of the DMN – showed greater activity when (i) actions that did not depend upon immediate perceptual input were faster and
(ii) when actions based on perceptual input were slower.
Together these data suggest that the DMN is important in cognition that is independent from perceptual input regardless of whether such thoughts result in action, or, instead compete with the behavioral goals of the moment.


  • Absent-minded lapses;
  • Daydreaming;
  • Default mode network;
  • Medial prefrontal cortex;
  • Posterior cingulate;
  • Mind-wandering;
  • Response time;
  • Stimulus-independent thought

see also:
The silver lining of a mind in the clouds: Interesting musings are associated with positive mood while mind-wandering. 
Frontiers in Psychology, 2013, 4
Franklin, M. S., et al.

Neuroscience: Idle minds
Neuroscientists are trying to work out why the brain does so much when it seems to be doing nothing at all.
19 September 2012
the stream of consciousness

Brain: Memory and Multitasking (TED talk)

TEDxSanJoseCA – Brain: Memory and Multitasking
Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD
April 17, 2011

13:00 Impact of distraction on long-term memory (3 scenarios: eyes shut, looking at gray screen or busy visual picture)

14:23 how exquisite sensitive  our memory is, even to the normal environmental stimulation that we can not escape

15:29 prefrontal cortex

15:56 In your visual cortex there is only room for 6 objects or even less at a time, depending on how complex they are
[c.f.: https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/mindsight-the-new-science-of-personal-transformation ]

17:23: Multitasking: Costs: – Time delays in switching – Impact on task performance (you don’t do 2 things as well as you do 1 thing)

17:50 Why do we multitask (some sources are anecdotal): – Flexibility – Fresh perspective – Increased variety – Enables us to use downtime productively – More fun

19:10 So, what can be done? – Change our behavior – Change our brains 20:05 Change our behavior: Establish rules – Important tasks demanding high quality should be given singular attention (e.g., quit mail, turn off phone, shut the door). – Boring, easier, less critical tasks are better candidates for multitasking

21:00 Change our brain: Neuroracer


How to Be Good at Multitasking