STATES CHRONICLE – We’ve all heard in the past that computer screens are bad for your eyes. There was even that time in the ‘90s and early ‘00s when everybody was getting protective screens and even protective glasses to sit on their computers. Well, it turns out that we got the sense wrong. According to a new study, devices with screens cause inattentional deafness.
In fact, this was already known or suspected by scientists, but this is the first case in which they actually have proof.
It was discovered that starting intently at an object, focusing visually on it, will lead to a temporary reduction of your other senses.
The study, co-authored by Professor Nilli Lavie from the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Dr Maria Chait from the UCL Ear Institute, focused on a sample of 13 subjects.
The volunteers had their brains scanned while they were paying attention to visual stimuli. The scans revealed that their auricular sense was significantly reduced when visually absorbed into an activity.
Background noises, as well as more focused audio stimuli were applied to the subjects, as they were paying attention to visual stimuli that required various levels of focus. It was revealed that the more attention they paid to the visual stimuli, the harder it was to perceive the audio ones.
The subjects’ brain scans showed that they were indeed not picking up the noises, however something interesting was also revealed.
There was nothing wrong with the volunteers’ audio receptors, so the noises did register as being heard, however due to the subjects’ increased focus on a different sense, for all intents and purposes, they might as well not have heard the audio stimuli.
This term was dubbed inattentional deafness, and it also applies to other senses. When one sense is used intensely, the others are diminished by the brain so as not to disturb the obviously important activity.
We experience this every day, when someone is talking to us while we’re on the computer, when we fail to hear that our station is coming up because we’re on our phones, or when we fail to notice getting a bruise at a party.
Our brains, due to our level of implication, decide that the task being currently undertaken is too important, so it decides not to bother us with “minor inconveniences”.
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