Can your cellphones prevent you from learning?

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that when rats have a new experience their brains show new patterns of activity. In order to create a persistent memory of experience, the rats have to take a break from their exploration.

 According to Loren Frank, assistant professor at the university, the research may apply to humans. “Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories,” When the brain is constantly stimulated, you prevent this learning process. University of Michigan researchers also discovered that people learned better after a nature walk in comparison to an urban setting with many distractions. Scientists believe that even though people feel entertained while checking out an app or video clip on their digital device, this may cause fatigue. Playing games or constantly checking e-mails can take a mental toll. The stress of staying in contact with people can interfere with learning. (Source: Richtel, Matt (2010).

“Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime,” 8/24, New York Times,

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