by Mike Masnick

Technology Induced ADD?

from the something-to-think-on dept

For the most part, when we hear stories about psychologists naming a new problem related to technology, we make the obvious assumption that they're trying to get some attention to drum up business. This leads to publicity over things like web addiction, video game addiction, internet addiction, text messaging addiction and many other such claims. While it's nice to at least see the latest technology-induced problem a psychologist describes is not called an addiction, it still sounds a bit overstated. A psychologist who studies attention deficit disorder (ADD) is now claiming that many people in today's high tech workplace are suffering from a related disorder he calls attention deficit trait (ADT). The concept is that you're not born with ADT, but it's induced by a workplace that forces you to multi-task all the time -- and that it's easily cured by getting out of that environment. He also claims that "multi-tasking" is impossible for humans, which some might disagree with -- but he does make some valid points on getting people to occasionally stop and actually think about things. Taking a longer term viewpoint is often very useful. Still, it's not clear that it's really reached the "epidemic" stage that this guy claims. If anything, it seems that as more companies recognize the importance of a better work/life balance, this becomes less of an issue. That means not doing stupid things like banning solitaire -- which acts as a mental break, or trying desperately to stop all personal activities at work. In fact, the psychologist points out that it's often the tech companies who are better able to diffuse this "ADT" stuff by understanding the importance of "play" at work. As such ideas diffuse more widely into the workplace, it seems like this problem shouldn't be such a big issue.

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