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Do emails ‘hurt IQ more than pot’?

Filed in Ideas ,Research News
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The headline E-mails ‘hurt IQ more than pot’ caught our attention here at DSN. Reading the article, we see that the study is not about intelligence as a trait being affected by internet interruptions. It simply uses an IQ test as a measure, we suppose, of being able to think clearly.

In any case, it is a worthwhile topic, and one that will only get more important as time goes on. Do the distractions of working in a networked world prevent us from reasoning well and making good decisions? Stanford prof Jeffrey Pfeffer argues this in his comment Stop Working for Technology – Make It Work For You.

This ties back into our favorite topics of defaults and information design. Most people don’t change the default settings when they install software. If one person has a default browser homepage that puts out constant interruptions (e.g., news flashes, email inbox, portfolio updates, etc), and another person has one that promotes getting work done (e.g., a featureless search engine box), who will get more work done? Who will feel better about what they have accomplished at the end of the week? Decision Science News is working on this topic and has some studies in the can.


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