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时期:2023-04-09 00:44 点击数:
本文摘要:AS much as we love our digital devices, many of us have an uneasy sense that they are destroying our attention spans. We skitter from app to app, seldom alighting for long. Our ability to concentrate is shot, right?我们青睐我们的数码设备,但与此同时,很多人也回应


AS much as we love our digital devices, many of us have an uneasy sense that they are destroying our attention spans. We skitter from app to app, seldom alighting for long. Our ability to concentrate is shot, right?我们青睐我们的数码设备,但与此同时,很多人也回应深感忧虑,实在它们毁坏了我们注意力的持续度。我们在各种应用于中转换,很少在其中一个上做到长时间逗留。我们全神贯注的能力遭了巩固,是吧?Research shows that our intuition is wrong. We can focus. But our sense that we can’t may not be a phantom. Paying attention requires not just ability but desire. Technology may snuff out our desire to focus.研究指出,这种想当然的观点并不准确。我们是可以集中于注意力的。

但我们实在自己失去了这个能力也是有原因的。因为这不仅必须能力,也必须意愿。而科技产品有可能助长了我们全神贯注的意愿。The idea that gadgets corrode our attention span sounds logical. Screen-based activities can take upward of 11 hours of a teenager’s day, and many demand rapid shifts of attention: quick camera cuts in videos, frenetically paced games, answering questions in multiple apps, not to mention web design that invites skimming. And we often do all this simultaneously, so attention bounces between two (or three or eight) fast-paced tasks. The theory is that the brain’s plasticity turns this quick mental pivoting into a habit, rendering us unable to sustain attention.数码设备巩固了我们的注意力,这个点子或许很通逻辑。


有人指出,大脑具备可塑性,因此较慢转换的作法渐渐教导了习惯,造成我们无法持续集中于注意力。But there’s little evidence that attention spans are shrinking. Scientists use “span” to mean two separate things: how much we can keep in mind, and how well we can maintain focus. They measure the former by asking people to repeat increasingly long strings of digits in reverse order. They measure the latter by asking people to monitor visual stimuli for occasional, subtle changes. Performance on these tests today looks a whole lot as it did 50 years ago.但完全没证据指出,人们注意力的持续度正在延长。


这些测试的结果或许和50年前相差无几。Scientists also note that although mental tasks can change our brains, the impact is usually modest. For example, practice with action video games improves some aspects of vision, but it’s a small boost, not an overhaul of how we see. Attention is so central to our ability to think that a significant deterioration would require a retrofitting of other cognitive functions. Mental reorganization at that scale happens over evolutionary time, not because you got a smartphone.科学家还认为,虽然心智任务可以转变我们的大脑,但其影响一般来说并不大。

例如,对于我们如何看东西,动作类电子游戏提高了其中的某些方面,但幅度较小,并不明显。注意力是我们思维能力的核心,以至于只有再加其他理解功能的变化才不会造成它经常出现明显好转。这种程度的心智重组归属于演化范畴,不是摸到一部智能手机就不会再次发生的。But if our attention span is not shrinking, why do we feel it is? Why, in a 2012 Pew survey, did nearly 90 percent of teachers claim that students can’t pay attention the way they could a few years ago? It may be that digital devices have not left us unable to pay attention, but have made us unwilling to do so.但是,如果我们的注意力持续度没削减,为什么我们不会有这种感觉呢?为什么皮尤(Pew)2012年的一项调查表明,将近90%的教师说道学生们不像几年前那样注意力集中于了?这有可能是因为数码设备虽然没让我们巩固集中于注意力的能力,但却让我们丧失了这样做到的意愿。

The digital world carries the promise of amusement that is constant, immediate and limitless. If a YouTube video isn’t funny in the first 10 seconds, why watch when I can instantly seek something better on BuzzFeed or Spotify? The Internet hasn’t shortened my attention span, but it has fixed a persistent thought in the back of my mind: Isn’t there’s something better to do than what I’m doing?数码世界获取了源源不断、即时、无限的娱乐活动。如果YouTube上一段视频的前10秒没意思,那为何还要看它,当真我可以立刻到BuzzFeed或Spotify寻找更佳的东西?互联网没削减我的注意力持续度,但它转变了我脑海中一个长期以来的点子:是不是有什么东西比我现在手上的更佳?Are we more easily bored than we were 20 years ago? Researchers don’t know, but recent studies support the suggestion that our antennas are always up. People’s performance on basic laboratory tests of attention gets worse if a cellphone is merely visible nearby. In another experiment, people using a driving simulator were more likely to hit a pedestrian when their cellphone rang, even if they had planned in advance not to answer it.与20年前比起,我们现在更容易厌烦了吗?研究人员没答案,但最近的研究反对了一个众说纷纭:我们的天线仍然是开着的。在基本的实验室测试中,意味着是有一部手机在视线范围之内,人们的注意力展现出就不会变差。

在另一个实验中,如果手机在敲,即使驾驶员模拟器的人要求不去理会它,也更加有可能撞到上行人。The direst prediction offered by digital critics — our phones are really pocket-size deep fryers for the mind — may be untrue, but the alternative I’ve suggested sounds nearly as bad. The appetite for endless entertainment suggests that worthier activities will be shoved aside. We may buy Salman Rushdie’s book, but we’ll end up sucked in by Flappy Bird.数码批评家作出了可怕的预测——手机就是一口袖珍的心智油炸锅。

事实有可能并非这样,但我的众说纷纭或许也暗示着某种程度差劲的事情:对娱乐的无限热衷,或许意味著更加有价值的活动将被扔到一旁。我们可能会出售萨尔曼·拉什迪(Salman Rushdie)的书,结果却沉迷于玩游戏《像素鸟》(Flappy Bird)游戏。That doesn’t quite seem to be the case, either. Research shows, for example, that the amount of leisure reading hasn’t changed with the advent of the digital age. Before we congratulate ourselves, though, let’s acknowledge that brainier hobbies have never been that popular. There have always been ways to kill time.情况样子也不是这样。例如,研究指出,休闲娱乐书刊读者量或许并没随着数字时代的到来而转变。

在祝贺自己之前,我们不妨再行否认,更加高雅的嗜好根本都没那么风行。去找时间的方式仍然都不缺少。Still, digital activities may be different. Over the last decade, neuroscientists distinguished two systems of attention and associated thought. One is directed outward, as when you scroll through your email or play Candy Crush. The other is directed inward, as when you daydream, plan what you’ll do tomorrow, or reflect on the past. Clearly, most digital activities call for outwardly directed attention. These two modes of attention work like a toggle switch; when one is on, the other is off. In fact, when attention is outwardly directed, the inwardly directed attention system is somewhat suppressed. Given the amount of time people spend with digital devices, that sounds ominous.但是,数字活动有可能还是有所不同。

过去十年来,神经学家总结出有两种有关注意力和思维的系统。一种是外指向的,经常出现在你网页电子邮件,或玩《糖果消灭传奇》(Candy Crush)的时候。另一种是内指向的,经常出现在你发呆,计划明天不会做到什么,或反省过去的时候。



Will we actually lose our ability to daydream? Let’s hope not. Among daydreaming’s many merits, research shows, is an association with greater creativity. But there is a dark side of inwardly directed thought, too. Daydreaming often distracts us when we’re trying to get something done. And reflection can turn ugly, as when we ruminate about some past insult or error.我们知道不会丧失发呆的能力?期望会吧。研究表明,发呆有诸多优点,其中一个和创造力提高很有关系。但是内指向活动也有缺点。

比如我们想要把事情作好的时候,发呆可能会让我们迟疑。当我们纠葛于过去的一些羞辱或错误时,反省有可能并非好事。Digital devices are not eating away at our brains. They are, however, luring us toward near constant outwardly directed thought, a situation that’s probably unique in human experience. A flat cap on time with devices — the restriction we first think of for ourselves and our kids — might help. So would parking devices in another room for a while. But it would be more effective if we could learn to recognize in ourselves when escape from our thoughts is O.K. and when reflection is in order. As a bonus, judgments like that require inwardly directed attention, a mental habit that in our smartphone era, we’d be dumb to lose.数码设备会蚕食我们的大脑。





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