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  (Source: geeksaresexy.net)
Easily distracted humans may have "too much brain"

Researchers from the University College London (UCL) have determined that those easily distracted while attempting to complete a task may have too much brain, or grey matter.

Ryota Kanai, study leader and a researcher from UCL, and a team of researchers, have investigated distractibility and found that those who demonstrate a lack of focused attention during a project have larger volumes of grey matter in specific parts of the brain than those who are not easily distracted. 

Kanai and his research team came to this conclusion by assembling a team of volunteers and putting them through a series of tests that emphasize their level of distraction. The tests involved quizzing participants on how often they go into grocery stores for a certain item and become distracted to the point forgetting to buy that item, how often they notice road signs, etc. 

As you might've guessed, the most distracted participants received the highest score. Using the knowledge of who is most distractible and who isn't in the group of volunteers, researchers used an MRI scanner to image the participants' brains. These results showed that the easily distracted volunteers had a larger volume of grey matter in an area of the brain known as the left superior parietal lobe (SPL) while those who are less easily distracted had a normal volume of grey matter.  

From there, researchers set out to test whether this noticeable difference was really, in fact, the reason some people are more distracted than others. To do this, Kanai and his team asked 15 volunteers to perform certain tasks that were timed and contained distractions. Their level of distractibility was gauged on the time it took to complete the task. The team then used a handheld magnet to dampen the activity in a part of the brain beneath the left SPL for a half hour in a process called transcranial magnetic stimulation. 

During that half hour, researchers asked the participants to perform the same tasks as before. The results showed that the time it took to complete the task increased by about 25 percent. According to Kanai, this shows that the left SPL plays a role in "top-down control of attention," and that the left SPL tries to overcome distraction. 

It is unclear why the left SPL works this way, but Kanai hypothesizes that more grey matter may demonstrate a less mature brain, which may indicate a mild developmental malfunction. But Kanai is working to improve levels of attention in those with a greater volume of grey matter by using transcranial direct current stimulation, which stimulates the area by sending an inconspicuous electrical current to the left SPL via electrodes on the head. 

This study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.


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I agree
By FaceMaster on 5/9/2011 12:20:59 PM , Rating: 5
I have too much intelligence to be caught up in trivial matters. Or Apple products.




RE: I agree
By nstott on 5/9/2011 12:39:47 PM , Rating: 5
The thing about Apple is... What was I saying again?


RE: I agree
By FaceMaster on 5/10/2011 2:21:04 PM , Rating: 3
I think that you were just cashing in on the site's hate of Apple in order to get a 5-rated comment as well :P


By dgingeri on 5/9/2011 12:59:49 PM , Rating: 2
Notice it says it increased the time it took to do the task, not decreased. That means they slowed down, not sped up.


By Etsp on 5/9/2011 1:11:25 PM , Rating: 2
Totally misread that. Thanks for the correction. Disregard my previous comment.


By SilthDraeth on 5/9/2011 1:43:47 PM , Rating: 2
Wait, so if I were to wear a magnetic helmet it would slow me down even more?

So larger brain equal possible contributing factor to ADHD?


By geddarkstorm on 5/9/2011 4:50:58 PM , Rating: 2
More like a less efficient brain. Your brain "prunes" neurons that decrease efficiency and performance. If that pruning doesn't proceed like it should, you get a build up of grey matter and decreased or aberrant performance.

Take bees for example. They out perform our best super computers at path finding calculations, with no contest. Yet their brains are small. They are just highly tuned for that specific task.

More does not mean better; in fact, it can be quite the opposite.


By Shadowmaster625 on 5/9/2011 2:45:16 PM , Rating: 2
I would hope that they would make some people repeat the same task without changing anything, and place those results in a control group. Maybe even go as far as to make them wear a fake (ie nonmagnetic) magnet, and tell them it is a real magnet.


Multipurpose tool
By HoosierEngineer5 on 5/9/2011 1:35:25 PM , Rating: 5
"then used a handheld magnet to dampen the activity in a part of the brain"

After that, they used it to align the hydrocarbons in their vehicles, increasing the mileage "by about 25 percent"




LOL
By bdschuler on 5/9/2011 12:48:10 PM , Rating: 4
Getting easily distracted while reading an article on distraction.. priceless.
Future articles on distracted minds should be limited to 3 sentences or less, don't ya think?




By callmeroy on 5/9/2011 1:46:52 PM , Rating: 2
Principal: "Hi Mrs. Jones, yeah your son is easily distracted so we are going to have to place him a special needs class so he doesn't get left behind due to his ADD."

Mrs. Jones: "WHAT! So because my son is too smart for your regular classes that gets bored easily you are going to embarrass him but putting him in special ed?"




By Wererat on 5/9/2011 3:53:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yea ... welcome to public school reality since the '70s if not longer.

Do you have any IDEA how many kids have been classified as troublemakers, ADHD, punished or drugged simply because the material they were droning through was boring to them and they needed more challenge?

Actually, this being DT, I suspect a large number of readers DO. :/


Could it be for another reason?
By SilthDraeth on 5/10/2011 2:40:49 AM , Rating: 2
I may be wrong, but I think it mentioned possibly under development of the brain, as in a more juvenile state...

Which to me makes some sense, since children generally have shorter attention spans than adults,,,

But I would like to throw the theory out there that, perhaps not all human brains have changed to fit into modern assembly line type work.

To use another animal as an example, chipmunks are easily distracted, but it is a survival mechanism, as dang near anything can kill them.

Some humans have better situational awareness than others. I wonder if they took the same set of participants in this study, and observed their ability to avoid "accidents" and hazards, what the outcome would be.

I for one am easily distracted, I also will fail to notice the state of construction of a new building. For instance, I notice when the ground is being leveled, when the frame starts to go up, then I sort of miss it until it is built...

BUT I read every sign I pass, I notice every single car I pass, what color hair a person has, glasses, no glasses, female, male, cell phone, no cell phone, smoking or not, color of nail polish, stop lights I drive through, people on sidewalks, who is behind me, on my left, who is turning, who isn't, speed of oncoming traffic.

I know most people drive, and manage to do so without having an accident, and most of people probably are aware of cars around them, but how many of you really read every tiny little bit of detail like I outlined above?

Just a curiosity.




RE: Could it be for another reason?
By myhipsi on 5/10/2011 8:19:52 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
BUT I read every sign I pass, I notice every single car I pass, what color hair a person has, glasses, no glasses, female, male, cell phone, no cell phone, smoking or not, color of nail polish, stop lights I drive through, people on sidewalks, who is behind me, on my left, who is turning, who isn't, speed of oncoming traffic.


Are you sure you're not a savant? ;)


BRB...
By Chadder007 on 5/9/2011 2:34:22 PM , Rating: 2
....buying magnets to stick on the.....Right side of my head.




simple solution :)
By kitonne on 5/9/2011 5:17:11 PM , Rating: 2
"those who demonstrate a lack of focused attention during a project have larger volumes of grey matter"

so a time-tested lobotomy may be the miracle cure to the lack of attention?




I r dum
By rburnham on 5/9/2011 8:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
So if smart people are easily distracted, and I am able to focus on one thing for long periods of time, then that means... oh dear lord, no.




Makes sense.
By Motoman on 5/9/2011 11:07:52 PM , Rating: 2
My wife often wonders why I'm so easily distra...ooo a skwirrel!




Aspergers
By StinkyWhizzleTeeth on 5/10/2011 3:53:10 AM , Rating: 2
This is the exact same with Aspergers, and seems to me to likely be fundamental similarity to dyslexia, ADHD, ADD, Autism, schizophrenia. It all depends on the region of the brain that is affected. Anyways, here is my source for Aspergers using the same TMS technology.

Go to wrong planet dot net /article395.html




Summary of article
By Wererat on 5/9/2011 3:54:19 PM , Rating: 1
tl;dr.




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