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How tech distractions hijack the brain and what you can do about it

A woman looks at an Apple iPhone at one of the company's stores in Paris, on December 20, 2013.
A woman looks at an Apple iPhone at one of the company's stores in Paris, on December 20, 2013.

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Chances are that as you’re reading this, your attention will be diverted by the buzz of an Instagram ‘like’ or Facebook notification, or you’ll receive that email you’ve been waiting for and you’ll switch tabs to answer it before coming back to finish this sentence.

Though technology makes it easy and enticing to multitask, the human brain may not have the capacity to keep up. But the brain also has trouble resisting – from phantom pocket buzzing to the cortisol-induced anxiety of not being able to check your phone, obsessive behavior towards tech is an unavoidable reality for many Americans.   

Larry talks to Dr. Larry Rosen, co-author of 'The Distracted Mind,' to explore what goes on in your head every time you’re interrupted by your phone, as well practical strategies to resist distraction and maintain focus.

On the flip side, Tuesday we'll talk to Tristan Harris, co-founder of advocacy group Time Well Spent, who believes that tech product designers have a responsibility to pare down the addictive nature of their software. 

What are the negative effects of high-tech distraction? How do you balance the benefits and drawbacks of your devices? What strategies do you use to keep focused?


Larry Rosen, Professor Emeritus and Past Chair of the Psychology Department at California State University, Dominguez Hills; co-author of ‘The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World