In The Overflowing Brain, cognitive scientist Torkel Klingberg takes us on a journey into the limits and possibilities of the brain. He suggests that we should acknowledge and embrace our desire for information and mental challenges, but try to find a balance between demand and capacity. Klingberg explores the cognitive demands, or “complexity,” of everyday life and how the brain tries to meet them. He identifies different types of attention, such as stimulus-driven and controlled attention, but focuses chiefly on “working memory,” our capacity to keep information in mind for short periods of time. Dr Klingberg asserts that working memory capacity, long thought to be static and hardwired in the brain, can be improved by training, and that the increasing demands on working memory may actually have a constructive effect: as demands on the human brain increase, so does its capacity.
– Open plan office increase the cognitive load (n.o of distractions people have to deal with, visual and audio)
– Directing your attention at something is analogous to selecting information.
-If Linda has an office more resembling a monastery cell—austere and with only one text (a Bible?) on her desk—there is little demand on her attention and no
need for her to make choices. However, as soon as she has two documents in front of her, she is forced to choose and direct her attention, and as the volume
of information increases, these demands on her attention become even greater
-If we have only one thought in our head, we are under no real pressure to control our attention. This pressure increases when we add impulses, memories, and
-Flynn looked at more than seventy studies including a total of more than 7,500 participants between 1932 and 1978 and found that the average IQ increased by
3 points, roughly 3 percent, per decade. What is so sensational about these findings is the degree of increment. In sixty years—that’s two generations—scores
have risen by roughly one standard deviation. This means that an eighteen-year-old who scored the average for his cohort in 1990 would, if transported sixty
years back in time, be among the highest-performing sixth. From being an average student in a class of thirty, he would suddenly find himself in the top five.