Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Attention Distraction Devices

I also thought Levinson’s final chapter on “Hardware” was a very appropriate conclusion to his book. It was interesting how he noted that as media evolves, it becomes more humanlike. As a psychology major, I am naturally interested in the influence of mobile media on the processes of society and human behavior. It indeed seems that developing mobile media and technology has, in many respects, altered the way people act. I found an interesting article from Psychology Today called “Put that iPhone down, I’m talking to you!” that deals with how today’s mobile media has provided numerous obstacles to attention span and listening skills. This recent block against listening has been termed ADD (Attention Distraction Device). These devices include, smartphones, televisions, iPods, computers, etc. These devices have become “humanlike” as they replace human interactions. In the article, “The Myth of Multitasking” in the New Atlantis, Christine Rosen discusses her research on mobile media and multitasking. She summarizes her findings that the human brain is incapable of multitasking higher level tasks while texting and having a conversation or talking on a cellphone while driving. However, many people do it anyway. This comes from the idea that we humans, love immediacy. We have to have it right away. And when information and endless applications are available just at our fingertips and at our convenience, we will use it to any extent in order to satisfy us.


  1. The idea that people can multitask well when using the iPhone or any other device is hard for my to believe. The only multitasking that occurs is one the phone. You can read email while making a call, but you can't read emails or text while you're talking in person to someone else.

  2. Great post, and there certainly is a trade-off between mobile connectivity and distraction. Of course, similar things have been said about television, and radio, and the telephone.