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Easily Distracted People May Have 'Too Much Brain' 246

Posted by timothy
from the so-so-true dept.
fysdt writes with this excerpt from New Scientist: "Those who are easily distracted from the task in hand may have 'too much brain.' So says Ryota Kanai and his colleagues at University College London, who found larger than average volumes of grey matter in certain brain regions in those whose attention is readily diverted. To investigate distractibility, the team compared the brains of easy and difficult-to-distract individuals. [Abstract] They assessed each person's distractibility by quizzing them about how often they fail to notice road signs, or go into a supermarket and become sidetracked to the point that they forget what they came in to buy. The most distractible individuals received the highest score."
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Easily Distracted People May Have 'Too Much Brain'

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  • Flamebait Summary (Score:4, Informative)

    by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Sunday May 08, 2011 @12:46PM (#36064148) Journal

    With only a brief glance at TFA this is a Flamebait summary.

    It's the age-old distinction between a low-grade machine that is resistant to abuse and a high-grade machine that is vulnerable to abuse.

    The summary unfairly rewards low-grade abuse-resistant machines/brains.

  • Re:great excuse (Score:2, Informative)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @01:05PM (#36064302) Homepage Journal

    I can be totally friendly with you while still waging a war against you to take your resources, try again.

  • Re:ADHD (Score:4, Informative)

    by hey! (33014) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @08:00PM (#36067286) Homepage Journal

    Actually, people with ADHD often have *above* normal ability to focus on one thing to the exclusion of all others for a significant period of time. It's called "hyperfocus". That ability has many advantages, but that *propensity* has serious disadvantages as they fail to switch tasks at the appropriate time.

    ADHD is not really about a deficit of *attention*. It's about a lack of voluntary control over attention. Imagine you are starving. You'd have a hard time concentrating on a tedious task if there was food nearby. ADHD brains behave like they're starved for stimulation. They have a hard time sticking to a boring task when a more stimulating one is at hand. That's why stimulant medication helps; they take the edge off a brain's hunger for stimulation so its owner can choose what he wants to use the brain for.

    But it is absolutely true that ADHD is part of the normal behavioral spectrum for our species. In primitive societies, people at the ADHD end of the spectrum were good at the vital high stimulation tasks the group needed performed. Things that involved seeking novelty or tolerating danger. In frightening situations it's the people on the non-ADHD end of the scale that have difficulty focusing. People with ADHD can often perform better. In fact for some of those people high stress situations may be the only ones where they feel "normal". That's why people with untreated ADHD can develop the habit of seeking out conflict, or letting problems build to near crisis levels. Those people are misplaced in their work, but in the modern economy it may be hard for them to find a suitable place for their talents.

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