Wednesday, February 24, 2010

1 Brain Runneth Over

When I finished reading Torkel Klingberg’s The Overflowing Brain, my brain was running over.  At least now, I know why.

The book is described by one reviewer as “the day in the mental life of a typical corporate manager.”   It points out how the average businessperson is forever trying to focus on too many things at once.  For example, how many computer windows can you count open on your screen right now?  How about the average amount of mail in your inbox when you open it in the morning?

We are constantly being interrupted before we can even begin to start a task let alone finish it.  Klingberg, a cognitive neuroscientist is Stockholm, gives a brief tour of what science has discovered about our brains, especially what their limits are and what we can do to improve their functioning:

“When we must return to a task after interruption or delay our brain’s working memory tries to retain the necessary information.  We use this form of memory, say, to keep a telephone number in mind just long enough to dial it.  But working memory has a short life and limited capacity.  About four items is the most it can hold.  If we start a conversation before we dial the phone number, the number will disappear.”

The book explores how our modern lives may be too much for our simple brains -- that have not developed much from ancient times.

You can read more about what on my mind in the latest issue of our Accelerate newsletter.

1 comment:

melanie said...

keep this in mind when randomly calling me over to your desk to tell me a joke. my brain - it's overflowing.
thx :)