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Tuned in, Dialed up, and Unfocused: Helping Today’s Media-Consuming Kids Make Conscious Choices About How They Use Time. Head-Royce Parent Coffee 1/31/08 Karen Bradley, Ph.D. and Jennifer Brakeman, Ph.D. Why this topic, why now?.

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slide1

Tuned in, Dialed up, and Unfocused: Helping Today’s Media-Consuming Kids Make Conscious Choices About How They Use Time

Head-Royce Parent Coffee

1/31/08

Karen Bradley, Ph.D. and Jennifer Brakeman, Ph.D.

why this topic why now
Why this topic, why now?
  • Are students less able to focus or does it just seem that way?
  • To what extent do electronic distractions affect young people’s use of time and behavior?
  • Is multitasking something “youngsters do well but older folks don’t because youngsters grew up doing it?”
  • Does adolescents’ “screen time” affect their sleep? Their learning?
what about multitasking are we exploring today
What about multitasking are we exploring today?
  • What’s going on in the brain. Multitasking involves working memory:
    • a higher-order processing skill that allows a person to manage multiple inputs to solve a complex problem;
    • A prioritizing skill to manage (well or poorly) distracting inputs, e.g. email during class/a meeting; IM during homework, etc.;
  • What kinds of distracting/diverting inputs come from electronic sources:
    • (music, telephone, email, IM, social networking sites like Facebook. . .)
    • Laptops’ role in all this?
    • A 2007 Dutch study found that teens spent 2h11min IM-ing + 12 min chatting per day!
neural correlates of executive function and working memory background long term memory
Neural correlates of executive function and working memory background:Long Term Memory
  • Long-term memories are stored in various parts of the cortex (outside portion of brain) in intricate networks

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/kinser/images/humanlobes.gif

neural correlates of executive function and working memory background short term memory
Neural correlates of executive function and working memory background:Short Term Memory
  • Executive function (ability to plan, prioritize and organize)
  • Short-term memories are held in intricate, but not strengthened connections between the hippocampus and cortex.
  • STM’s become LTM’s when connections are strengthened.
  • Amygdala activation can help by placing emotional weight.
  • Chronic/over activation of amygdala can hinder learning because of resultant overactivation of stress hormones.

http://www.brainconnection.com/med/medart/l/amygdala.jpg

neural correlates of executive function and working memory background working memory
Neural correlates of executive function and working memory background:Working Memory

http://web.lemoyne.edu/~hevern/psy340/graphics/dorsolateral.jpg

  • Working memory preferentially uses the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to “hold” things in mind while mentally sifting through long-term memories, short-term memories and/or other physical stimuli. Ex. . .
slide9
Multitasking asks the brain to switch gears, takes time.
  • “Rule activation (which is when the brain chooses to do this instead of that itself takes significant amounts of time, several tenths of a second -- which can add up when people switch back and forth repeatedly between tasks. . . . Subjects lost time when they had to switch from one task to another, and time costs increased with the complexity of the tasks, so it took significantly longer to switch between more complex [or unfamiliar] tasks. Thus, multitasking may seem more efficient on the surface, but may actually take more time in the end.”
  • Therefore, the usefulness of multitasking depends on what your meta-goal is when you are doing it . . .
  • Source: “Is Multitasking More Efficient? Shifting Mental Gears Costs Time. . .” (American Psychological Assn.)
multitasking involves prioritizing information in working memory
Multitasking involves prioritizing information in working memory.
  • Whenever you switch tasks you are prioritizing information. . .“Whether people toggle between browsing the Web and using other computer programs, talk on cell phones while driving, pilot jumbo jets or monitor air traffic, they're using their "executive control" processes -- the mental CEO . . .”
  • Source: “Is Multitasking More Efficient? Shifting Mental Gears Costs Time. . .” (American Psychological Assn.)
multitasking helps learning when
Multitasking Helps learning when. . .
  • A person is managing multiple inputs that contribute to one goal.
  • Multitasking is necessary for higher order thinking, creative thinking,
  • At its best, multitasking is experienced as a state of “flow.”
  • A state of “flow” is positively associated with feelings of deep happiness, more than any other activity.
multitasking detracts from learning when
Multitasking detracts from learningwhen. . .
  • Some of the inputs interrupt and/or distract the brain from the main goal of the activity. (example)
  • Study of how people learned in the presence of email-like distractions
  • Source: “Multi-Tasking Adversely Affects Brain's Learning, UCLA Psychologists Report.” Science Daily (Jul. 26, 2006)
slide13
“. . . While the distraction of the beeps did not reduce the accuracy of the predictions -- people could learn the task either way -- it did reduce the participants' subsequent knowledge about the task during a follow-up session. When the subjects were asked questions about the cards afterward, they did much better on the task they learned without the distraction. On the task they learned with the distraction, they could not extrapolate; in scientific terms, their knowledge was much less "flexible." This result demonstrates a reduced capacity to recall memories when placed in a different context. . .”
slide14
"Even if you learn while multi-tasking, that learning is less flexible and more specialized, so you cannot retrieve the information as easily. Our study shows that to the degree you can learn while multi-tasking, you will use different brain systems.”
  • Source: “Multi-Tasking Adversely Affects Brain's Learning, UCLA Psychologists Report.” Science Daily (Jul. 26, 2006)
distractions affect short term memory
Distractions affect short term memory
  • “Once their work becomes buried beneath a screenful of interruptions, office workers appear to literally forget what task they were originally pursuing. . . . Researchers find that 40 percent of the time, workers wander off in a new direction when an interruption ends, distracted by the technological equivalent of shiny objects.”
  • “The central danger of interruptions . . . is not really the interruption at all. It is the havoc they wreak with our short-term memory: What the heck was I just doing?”
  • “We do not like to think we are this flighty: we might expect that if we are, say, busily filling out some forms and are suddenly distracted by a phone call, we would quickly return to finish the job. But we don't.”
  • Source: Clive Thompson, “Meet the Life Hackers,” New York Times, October 16, 2005.
working memory impairments here is one of many experiments 3
Working memory impairments.Here is one of many experiments3

A task in

1 of the

studies:

Results of

that study:

slide17

• Distracters that were neutral resulted in maintained activation in cognitive areas (blue)

• Emotional / distracters reduced cortical activation (and therefore working memory),

and increased activation in emotion-processing areas (red)

Blue areas: executive function. Red areas: affective function

summary theories of working memory and how i m ing negatively affects learning
Summary: Theories of working memory and how I.M.-ing negatively affects learning
  • During working memory, short term memories need to be continually refreshed. “When there are small time intervals in which the processing task does not require attention, this time can be used to refresh memory traces”1
  • Summary: if the distraction is similar to the task, working memory is impaired.
  • And if the distraction is emotionally charged, then the performance declines even more.
  • Take-away:
    • Good break = laundry or sit-ups
    • Bad break = checking email/IM/Facebook and finding out friend just got dumped.
distractions that are not real breaks are time consuming and stress provoking
Distractions that are not real breaks are time consuming and stress-provoking
  • Review: what defines a real break versus a distraction?
  • Silicon Valley high tech leaders have recently become fascinated with the ideas of Timothy Ferris, who preaches cutting out useless information. After reading Ferris’s recent best seller, The 4-Hour Workweek, one high tech CEO urged his employees to cut out the instant-messaging and swear off multitasking. From now on, he told them, severely restrict e-mail use and conduct business the old-fashioned way, by telephone.
  • “All of a sudden,” Mr. Hoffman said of the results, “their evenings are free. All of a sudden Monday doesn’t feel so overwhelming.”
  • Source: Alex Williams, “Too Much Information? Ignore It,” New York Times, 11 November 2007
are today s pings the same as yesterday s rings
Are today’s pings the same as yesterday’s rings?
  • We contend that computer use and talking on the phone are qualitatively different because IM, email, Facebook pings interrupt more frequently than the telephone.
  • “20 years ago, an office worker had only two types of communication technology: a phone, which required an instant answer, and postal mail, which took days.”
  • Because the work and socializing interface is the same (the computer), people are under the illusion that they can do both simultaneously.
  • We also believe that teens may be socializing a lot more online than we were socializing on the phone2
distractions are greater because computer based interruptions are almost impossible to ignore
Distractions are greater because computer-based interruptions are almost impossible to ignore
  • “Our software tools were essentially designed to compete with one another for our attention, like needy toddlers.”
  • We don’t know if an email or an IM is important unless we look at it. . . But the “ping” or window keeps reminding us that it’s there
  • “The upshot is something that . . . a software executive . . . calls ‘continuous partial attention’: we are so busy keeping tabs on everything that we never focus on anything.”
  • “Information is no longer a scarce resource - attention is.”
  • Source: Clive Thompson, “Meet the Life Hackers,” New York Times October 16, 2005
however computer based interruptions are usually about relationships
However, computer-based interruptions are usually about relationships
  • “. . . the constant pinging makes us feel needed and desired. The reason many interruptions seem impossible to ignore is that they are about relationships - someone, or something, is calling out to us. It is why we have such complex emotions about the chaos of the modern office, feeling alternately drained by its demands and exhilarated when we successfully surf the flood.”
  • . . . And relationships are sooooo important to adolescents
  • It’s the amygdala, baby!
  • Source: Clive Thompson, “Meet the Life Hackers,” New York Times October 16, 2005
adolescent brains
Adolescent brains
  • They are changing rapidly
  • They are not adult brains
  • As parents and educators, we cannot expect them to always make the best choices--we have to teach and guide them.
slide25

Brain changes into adulthood

Child to adolescent

Adolescent to adult

Sowell, et al., 2001

Red: synaptic pruning, myelination.

White: more gray matter, myelination4

too many techno distractions can lead to sleep deprivation and late sleep
Too many techno distractions can lead to sleep deprivation and late sleep
  • Kids who watch TV or videogames > 20 minutes per day end up getting less sleep
  • A 2007 Dutch study found that teens spent 2h11min IM-ing + 12 min chatting per day!
  • Light affects circadian rhythms, and time in front of screens (computer, video game or TV) may be contributing to teenagers’ sense of not being tired until late at night (delayed melatonin release).
  • Sources:
    • Valkenburg, P. M., & Peter, J. (2007). “Online Communication And Adolescent Well-Being: Testing The Stimulation Versus The Displacement Hypothesis.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), article 2. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue4/valkenburg.html
    • Stephanie J. Crowley, Christine Acebob, and Mary A. Carskadon. “Sleep, Circadian Rhythms, and Delayed Phase in Adolescence.” Sleep Medicine. Volume 8, Issue 6, September 2007, Pages 602-612
tv watching computer game playing and internet use are related to sleep behavior
TV watching, Computer game playing and Internet use are related to sleep behavior.
  • When children have a TV or computer in their bedrooms, they get less sleep overall because they stay up later
  • And of course they report higher overall levels of being tired.
  • Source: Van den Bulck J. “Television Viewing, Computer Game Playing, And Internet Use And Self-Reported Time To Bed And Time Out Of Bed In Secondary-School Children.” Sleep. Vol. 27(1). Feb 2004:15-6.
lack of sleep correlates with performance
Lack of sleep correlates with performance
  • Reputable study showed that “A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years of cognitive maturation and development.” (“Snooze or Lose”)
  • Source: Po Bronson, Snooze or Lose, New York Magazine, Oct 7, 2007
less sleep correlates with lower grades
Less sleep correlates with lower grades
  • The correlations really spike in high school, because that’s when there’s a steep drop-off in kids’ sleep.
  • Dr. Kyla Wahlstrom of the University of Minnesota surveyed more than 7,000 high schoolers in Minnesota about their sleep habits and grades.
    • Teens who received A’s averaged about fifteen more minutes sleep than the B students, who in turn averaged eleven more minutes than the C’s, and the C’s had ten more minutes than the D’s.
    • Wahlstrom’s data was an almost perfect replication of results from an earlier study of more than 3,000 Rhode Island high schoolers by Brown’s Mary Carskadon.
  • Source: Po Bronson, “Snooze or Lose,” New York Magazine, Oct 7, 2007
slide32
Functional MRI scans showed
    • activation in prefrontal cortex during a working memory task (LTR)
      • Higher in well-rested subjects (RW) compared to sleep-deprived (SD).
      • This correlated with decreased performance!
cellular explanation for decreased working memory performance
Cellular explanation for decreased working memory performance
  • Normally (CTRL), individual neurons respond very robustly to a stimulus (“memory”).
  • Sleep-deprived (SD) subjects’ neurons responded very poorly.
  • Neurons have lost their plasticity!5
what s true for rats seems to be true for children as well
What’s true for rats seems to be true for children as well. . .
  • “Tired children can’t remember what they just learned, for instance, because neurons lose their plasticity, becoming incapable of forming the synaptic connections necessary to encode a memory.”
  • Using “functional MRI scans, researchers are now starting to understand exactly how sleep loss impairs a child’s brain.”
  • Source: Po Bronson, Snooze or Lose, New York Magazine, Oct 7, 2007
poor sleep habits also cause stress and inhibit learning
Poor sleep habits also cause stress and inhibit learning

http://www.learnmem.org/cgi/content/full/12/1/44#SEC1

  • Late sleeping increases cortisol during night AND day6. Too much cortisol inhibits learning, memory, and has other health consequences.
fatigue impaired executive function less impulse control perseveration vocab test
Fatigue-->impaired executive function, less impulse control, perseveration (vocab test!)
  • “Sleep loss debilitates our body’s ability to extract glucose from the bloodstream. Without this stream of basic energy, one part of the brain suffers more than the rest: the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for what’s called “executive function.”
    • “Among these executive functions are the orchestration of thoughts to fulfill a goal, the prediction of outcomes, and perceiving consequences of actions.
    • . . . tired people have difficulty with impulse control, and their abstract goals like studying take a back seat to more entertaining diversions.
    • A tired brain perseverates—it gets stuck on a wrong answer and can’t come up with a more creative solution, repeatedly returning to the same answer it already knows is erroneous.
    • Source: Po Bronson, “Snooze or Lose,” New York Magazine, Oct 7, 2007
slide38

In addition to being associated with inadequate sleep, too much “screen time” reduces homework and family time; increased correlation with learning difficulties

  • Television viewing was associated with decreased homework time and decreased time in creative play.
  • Time spent viewing television both with and without parents and siblings present was strongly negatively related to time spent interacting with parents or siblings.
  • Frequent television viewing during adolescence may be associated with risk fordevelopment of attention problems, learning difficulties, and adverse long-term educational outcomes.
  • Sources:
    • Vandewater EA, Bickham DS, Lee JH. “Time well spent? Relating television use to children's free-time activities.” Pediatrics. Vol. 117(2). Feb 2006: e181-91;
    • Johnson JG, Cohen P, Kasen S, Brook JS. “Extensive Television Viewing And The Development Of Attention And Learning Difficulties During Adolescence.” Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. Vol. 161(5) May, 2007:480-6.
videogaming negatively impacts time spent on reading homework and with family
Videogaming negatively impacts time spent on reading, homework, and with family
  • Compared with nongamers, adolescent gamers spent 30% less time reading and 34% less time doing homework.
  • Among gamers (both genders), time spent playing video games without parents or friends was negatively related to time spent with parents and friends in other activities
  • Source: Cummings HM, Vandewater EA. “Relation Of Adolescent Video Game Play To Time Spent In Other Activities.” Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. 2007 Jul;Vol. 161(7) July 2007: 684-9.
good sleep has been shown to correlate with many other things that improve learning
Good sleep has been shown to correlate with many other things that improve learning
  • Increased neurogenesis 16
  • Higher grades Snooze or Lose
  • Better mood 17
  • Better health 13, 14
  • Increased memory of facts 7,8
  • Creative insight gained 9, 10
  • Auditory learning improved 11
  • More challenging tasks undertaken 12
  • Less obesity 15
slide41

Finally, Is Multitasking A Generational Thing? Answer: Yes and No

  • “The young, according to conventional wisdom, are the most adept multitaskers. Just look at teenagers and young workers in their 20s,
  • e-mailing, instant messaging and listening to iPods at once.”
  • Recently completed research at the Institute for the Future of the Mind at Oxford University challenges this belief: “A group of 18- to 21-year-olds and a group of 35- to 39-year-olds were given 90 seconds to translate images into numbers, using a simple code. . . .
  • “When they were interrupted by a phone call, a cellphone short-text message or an instant message,” the older group performed better.
  • Source: Steve Lohr, “Slow Down, Brave Multitasker, and Don’t Read This in Traffic,” New York Times March 25, 2007
what kids need is
What kids need is
  • Help in figuring out what kinds of brains they have as far as multitasking is concerned (should be part of finding out what kinds of learners they are)
  • Help with asserting their needs with their peers: role-playing, scripting, etc
  • Practice and support in prioritizing their time and information inputs
  • Positive support for and enforcement of good sleep practices.
effects of inadequate sleep and electronic distractions are profound so
Effects of inadequate sleep and electronic distractions are profound, so. . .
  • What can you do to help your kids get adequate sleep?
references
References

Po Bronson, “Snooze or Lose,”New York Magazine, Oct 7, 2007 http://nymag.com/news/features/38951/

Benedict Carey, “An Active, Purposeful Machine That Comes Out at Night to Play,”New York Times, Published: October 23, 2007 http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/23/health/23memo.html

Cummings HM, Vandewater EA. “Relation Of Adolescent Video Game Play To Time Spent In Other Activities.”Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. 2007 Jul;Vol. 161(7) July 2007: 684-9.

Duckworth AL, Seligman ME. “Self-discipline outdoes IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescents.”Psychological Science. Vol.16(12). Dec 2005:939-44.

“Frontline: Inside The Teenage Brain”PBShttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/; accessed 10/30/07

“Is Multitasking More Efficient? Shifting Mental Gears Costs Time, Especially When Shifting To Less Familiar Tasks,” American Psychological Association Press Releases, 5 August 2001. http://www.apa.org/releases/multitasking.html.

Johnson JG, Cohen P, Kasen S, Brook JS. “Extensive Television Viewing And The Development Of Attention And Learning Difficulties During Adolescence.”Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine. Vol. 161(5) May, 2007:480-6.

Nancy Knop, Ph.D. “Sleep, Learning, And Memory,” The Appalachian Reading Center and Professional Therapy Services, Inc. Charleston, West Virginia nancyknop@verizon.net, October 2007. Available on the Head-Royce School Library Web Site.

slide46
Steve Lohr, “Slow Down, Brave Multitasker, and Don’t Read This in Traffic,”New York TimesMarch 25, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/25/business/25multi.html?hp

“Multi-Tasking Adversely Affects Brain's Learning, UCLA Psychologists Report.”Science Daily (Jul. 26, 2006) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060726083302.htm

Barbara Strauch, The Primal Teen: What the New Discoveries About the Teenage Brain Tell Us About Our Kids, Doubleday, 2003.

Clive Thompson, “Meet the Life Hackers,”New York Times, October 16, 2005. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/magazine/16guru.html.

Van den Bulck J. “Television Viewing, Computer Game Playing, And Internet Use And Self-Reported Time To Bed And Time Out Of Bed In Secondary-School Children.”Sleep. Vol. 27(1). Feb 2004:15-6.

Vandewater EA, Bickham DS, Lee JH. “Time Well Spent? Relating Television Use To Children's Free-Time Activities.”Pediatrics. Vol. 117(2). Feb 2006: e181-91.

Alex Williams, “Too Much Information? Ignore It,”New York Times, 11 November 2007.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/11/fashion/11guru.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

references jb s portion
References (JB’s portion)
  • Wikipedia entry for “working memory” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_memory
  • Valkenburg, P. M., & Peter, J. (2007). Online communication and adolescent well-being: Testing the stimulation versus the displacement hypothesis. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), article 2. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue4/valkenburg.html
  • Dolcos, F. & McCarthy, G. (2006). Brain systems mediating cognitive interference by emotional distraction. J. Neuroscience, 26(7), pg 2072-207 http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/full/26/7/2072
  • Elizabeth R. Sowell, Paul M. Thompson, Kevin D. Tessner, and Arthur W. Toga (2001). Mapping Continued Brain Growth and Gray Matter Density Reduction in Dorsal Frontal Cortex: Inverse Relationships during Postadolescent Brain Maturation. J. Neuroscience, 21(22):8819-8829. http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/full/21/22/8819
  • Caroline Kopp, Fabio Longordo, Janet R. Nicholson, and Anita Lüthi (2006). Insufficient Sleep Reversibly Alters Bidirectional Synaptic Plasticity and NMDA Receptor Function. J Neuroscience, 26(48):12456-12465. http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/full/26/48/12456
  • Spyridon Drosopoulos1, Ullrich Wagner and Jan Born (2005). Sleep enhances explicit recollection in recognition memory. Learning and Memory. 12:44-51. http://www.learnmem.org/cgi/content/full/12/1/44#SEC1
more references jb
More references (JB)

8. Rauchs G, et al., 2004. Consolidation of strictly episodic memories mainly requires rapid eye movement sleep. Sleep 27(3):395-401. PMID:15164890

9. Maquet P, et al., 2003. Memory processing during human sleep as assessed by functinal neuroimaging. Rev. Neurol (Paris). 159 (11 Suppl):6S27-29. PMID:14646796

10. Stickgold R, Walker M, 2004. To sleep, perchance to gain creative insight?Trends Cogn. Sci. 8(5);191-2. PMID:15120674

11. Wagner U, et al., 2004. Sleep inspires insight. Nature 427(6972):352-5. PMID:14737168

12. Gaab N, et al., 2004. The influence of sleep on auditory learning: a behavioral study. Neuroreport 15(4):731-4. PMID:15094486

13. Engle-Friedman M, et al., 2003. The effect of sleep loss on next day effort. J. Sleep Res.12(2):113-24. PMID:12753348

14. Tauman R, et al., 2004. Plasma C-reactive protein levels among children with sleep-disordered breathing. Pediatrics 113(6):e564-9. PMID:15173538

15. Partial night sleep deprivation reduces natural killer and cellular immune responses in humans. Irwin M, McClintick J, Costlow C, Fortner M, White J, Gillin JC. FASEB J. 1996 Apr;10(5):643-53 PMID: 8621064

16. Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index. Shahrad Taheri, Ling Lin, Diane Austin, Terry Young, Emmanuel Mignot. PLoS Med. 2004 Dec;1(3):e62. Epub 2004 Dec 7. PMID: 15602591

16. Ilana S. Hairston, Milton T. M. Little, Michael D. Scanlon, Monique T. Barakat, Theo D. Palmer, Robert M. Sapolsky and H. Craig Heller (2005). Sleep Restriction Suppresses Neurogenesis Induced by Hippocampus-Dependent Learning. J Neurophysiol 94: 4224-4233. http://jn.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/94/6/4224

17. Wallander MA, Johansson S, Ruigómez A, García Rodríguez LA, Jones R. (2007). Morbidity Associated With Sleep Disorders in Primary Care: A Longitudinal Cohort Study. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 9(5):338-345.