This is Your Brain. This is your Brain on Technology

With the anticipated approach of Apple’s latest and greatest “toy,” I started thinking about all the different ways that technology has impacted our lives. It has made us more efficient—I can now respond to an email while listening to a live newscast as I check out at the grocery store. But have any of us stopped to consider the physical effects technology may have on us?

Take a look at the following facts:

  • According to a study by the University of California in San Diego, today’s children are processing 300% more information than kids did in 1960.
  • At work, the average computer user checks 40 different websites a day and switches between computer programs nearly 37 times an hour.
  • An AOL study revealed that 59% of smartphone users check every single time an email arrives, and 83% check email every day on vacation.

While this information overload and technological addiction may not seem bad at the surface, experts are concerned that over time this high-speed Internet lifestyle may be doing greater damage than any of us realize. According to Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at University of California, San Francisco, “The nonstop interactivity is one of the most significant shifts ever in the human environment.” The constant exposure to stimuli, he argues, plays to a primitive impulse to respond to immediate opportunities—much like any addictive behavior. So, rather than taking time to make calculated decisions, you and your employees are trending toward impulsive, “one-click” processing that may negatively impact productivity and profitability.

Caution must be taken with the increasing use of technology in our businesses. High Performance Leaders understand that the value of technology lies in its usefulness to team members and the company’s overall success. Safe-guarding employees from the risks associated with its overuse is an essential step these leaders must take to maintain a healthy corporate family. As we become more technologically integrated and as social media plays an even larger role in how we conduct business, remember technology is simply a tool for success. Real and lasting impact comes with applying your brain first!