“Everybody is fighting for your attention, so your only real defense is to make it so that those stimuli don’t come in the door,” says Boston University cognitive neuroscientist David Somers. The idea that your technology should alert you when it thinks you should pay attention is relatively new (push alerts only really became a thing in 2009), and, frankly, it’s a big step backward. To use the earlier metaphor, you’re letting the bushes rustle nonstop, and telling yourself there’s a tiger over there.
“It’s so important that we define where we want to go as opposed to letting technology drive us and we’re just hanging on for dear life,” says author Amy Blankson, who works in the filed of positive psychology, specifically on maximizing happiness.
Still, everyone gets a buzz from this high-octane news environment. Literally. Every notification, every tweet, every beep and buzz releases dopamine and other neurochemicals, providing a moment’s elation. As with any drug, your brain gets used to it. Perhaps even craves it. “Even when you’re really on your best behavior and you’re like ‘OK I’m going to close my web browser, I’m going to shut off my phone,’ you still have this internal need for that feedback,” says Somers.
Reclaim control of what you read.
Emily Dreyfuss, Wired