[EAS] Constant Email Lowers IQ

Peter J. Kindlmann pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Tue Apr 26 17:46:48 EDT 2005

My friend Patrick Lynch sent me this, and I couldn't agree more. I
update my email Inbox manually, when I want to. Automatic updating is
an assured distraction.  --PJK

At 7:49 AM -0400 4/26/05, Patrick Lynch wrote:
>FYI: Interesting article
>Not so much the sheer volume of email, but the constant interruptions
>if you're not disciplined enough to read in batches at set times of
>day. The most sensible thing about email I've read in a long time,
>particularly for jobs that require long, sustained periods of intense
>concentration, like many IT and creative jobs:

>  E-MAIL IS A THREAT to your IQ, according to a study conducted by 
>researchers at the University of London.
>Constant e-mailing and text messaging reduces mental ability by 10 
>IQ points, a more severe effect than smoking cannabis, by 
>distracting the brain from other tasks, a University of London 
>report showed.
>The loss of intelligence and disruption caused by electronic "info- 
>mania," costs companies millions of dollars in lost productivity 
>each year, according to the study by the University's Institute of 
>"This is a very real and widespread phenomenon," said Dr. Glenn 
>Wilson, author of the research, in a phone interview. "Info-mania, 
>if unchecked, will damage a worker's performance by reducing mental 
>sharpness. Companies should encourage a more balanced and 
>appropriate way of working."
>The study of 1,000 adults found that their intelligence declined as 
>tasks were interrupted by incoming e-mails and texts. The average 
>reduction of 10 IQ points, though temporary, is more than double the 
>four-point loss associated with smoking cannabis. A 10-point drop is 
>also associated with missing a night of sleep, the report said.
>Sixty-two percent of workers are addicted to checking messages out 
>of office hours and while on vacation, according to the report. A 
>third of all adults will respond to an e-mail immediately or within 
>10 minutes. One in five is "happy" to interrupt a business or social 
>meeting to respond to an e-mail or text message, the study found.
>"E-mails flashing on a screen distracts people, and the use of 
>electronic messaging should be limited," Wilson said.
>Women were less affected than men. Their average decline in IQ was 
>five points, compared with 15 for males, suggesting women are better 
>at multitasking, Wilson said.
>The study also surveyed opinions on messaging in the workplace. 
>Eighty-nine percent of workers said it's "extremely rude" to answer 
>e-mails and phone messages during a face-to-face meeting. 
>Seventy-two percent were "irritated" by work phone calls held in 
>public places.
>The Scotsman newspaper earlier reported the findings of the study, 
>which was commissioned by Hewlett-Packard Co., the world's 
>second-biggest personal- computer maker.
>Patrick J. Lynch, M.S.
>Director, MedMedia Group
>Information Technology Services-Medicine
>Yale University School of Medicine
>100 Church Street South, Suite 107
>New Haven, CT 06519
>(203) 737-5033
>(203) 737-5034, fax
>mailto:patrick.lynch at yale.edu
>"ITS-Med: connecting people and technology."
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