In our lives, we are constantly reminded of the lives we aren’t living, whether it be through social media, texts, snapchat, or otherwise. We as humans live desiring a degree of inclusion in everything around us. This state, known as C.P.A, is an alertness created when we don't want to miss out on a group activity. Our brain rewards us for being social, conversely, when we miss things we could have been in we feel dejection, shame, suspicion. From an evolutionary stance, this was to assist us in forming and driving us to participate in group activities. However, now that we are constantly connected through a constantly expanding network, This once useful reward system leads more to distraction than to interaction. A study done by Anna Goldfarb interviews many people on this phenomenon in order to explain how this affects us in our daily lives.
First, she says that this state of mind impedes focus, if you’ve ever been writing then stopped to look at an instagram feed, it can be difficult to draw yourself away, the want to examine the groups activities in order to be a part of them pushes us away from any solo activity. It harms sleep due to the loss of ability to move out of C.P.A. she says it can help with anxiety, and induce a calmer lifestyle, as letting yourself disconnect from everyone allows your brain to process topics that may have been neglected previously, which also damages our ability to be on-the-spot creative. Though she admits that removing a phone for a full 24 hours can be tough and unreasonable, she concludes that at least making the effort to make “no-phone” areas in ones house can provide a major boost to your productivity and life overall.
These are all effects I’ve certainly seen in my own life, While writing a paper I’ll often go to check a chat-room only to realize 2 to 3 hours have gone by whilst I do nothing, each time when attempting to get back to the task at hand wondering what is being said while I’m gone. C.P.A. doesn’t inhibit our ability to know that there are things we need to get done, rather works to prevent action, keeping us in anticipation of the activity we don't want to miss yet never seems to come. Additionally, I often tend to come to the realization that I end up weighing the impact of not being involved in a chat and not getting my work done equally or even in favor of the chat, the rewiring of my brain becomes less about actually interacting, and more about distracting myself with the idea of interaction.
In conclusion, throughout our day we must each decide what is right for us, but using smart planning strategies and making yourself unavailable for some parts of the day can really help you make a meaningful difference to your productivity, anxiety, and life overall.
- Riley Anderson
Ms. Carrigan's Psych Class
We have been reading articles about psychological studies to inform the way we live our lives. Please explore, and we hope you learn a bit about the psychology in your life!