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Memory Shocker: keeping busy makes you too busy to remember things

Vlad Savov

The New York Times has picked up the scare-story baton again, this time citing two pieces of research that supposedly indicate we're spending too much time jacked into our electronic devices. The University of California, San Francisco, has come out with some data showing that the brain needs "downtime" to properly digest, learn, and memorize events. This is supported by the University of Michigan, which confirms that people remember much better after a walk through nature than after a walk through dense urban environments. Basically, crunching new data is preventing us from assimilating older, potentially more important, information. That's neatly (though somewhat dubiously) tied into electronics by reference to their ubiquitous presence and use in daily life. If you're constantly listening, watching, or checking something, you can't very well be packaging those precious memories of grandma's 85th birthday at the same time. Of course, the same could be said of a really good book you can't put down, but that doesn't make for a sexy headline, now does it?

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