Screen time and our attention span | Dr Patrick Clarke, Tamsin Mahalingham
Our growing reliance on mobile phones, the internet and social media may be changing how our brains work and altering our ability to focus. Early research expresses concern about the impacts of screen use on our concentration and mental health, and particularly on young children. However, newer research finds that many of the early conclusions regarding the negative effects of screen time and social media may have been overstated.
In this episode, Sarah is joined by Dr Patrick Clarke and Ms Tamsin Mahalingham.
Dr Clarke is a lecturer, clinical psychologist and researcher in psychology. His research considers whether our interactions with our devices influence our patterns of emotion, for better and for worse.
Ms Mahalingham is a PhD student at Curtin, where she has been examining the impact of social media use on mental health outcomes.
They discuss, how cognitive processes are changing in response to technology, the connections between inner tension and health, and how future technologies could impact brain function.
What attention control is and how it is measured [1:11]
In what ways is the digital world changing our attention span and shaping our cognitive abilities [4:58]
The connection between distractability, social media and mental health. [6:17]
How we can rebuild our attention spans – or retrain our brains to help us focus without distraction [15:07]
How our brains will adapt to the intense, digital demands of the future, such as VR and the Internet of Everything [19:13]
Patrick and Tamsin’s upcoming research plans [24:33]
Attention control moderates the relationship between social media use and psychological distress
Screentime associated with inattention in pre-schoolers
Connect with our guests
Dr Patrick Clarke
Senior Lecturer, Curtin School of Population Health
Dr Clarke is a lecturer, clinical psychologist and researcher in psychology. His research interests include understanding the cognitive and neural processes that underlie emotional vulnerability and resilience. His recent research also considers how interactions between patterns of cognition, such as attention, and our devices may influence patterns of emotion for better and for worse.
Ms Tamsin Mahalingham
Provisional Psychologist, Professional Masters and PhD Psychology student, Curtin School of Population Health
Ms Mahalingham is a PhD student at Curtin, where she has been examining the impact of social media use on mental health outcomes. She has found that people who get distracted easily are more prone to experience negative psychological effects (anxiety and depression) from high levels of social media use. She is also a volunteer with YouthFocus WA.
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Behind the scenes
Host: Sarah Taillier
Researcher and Editor: Anita Shore and Jarrad Long
Producer and Recordist: Emilia Jolakoska
Executive Producers: Anita Shore and Jarrad Long
Social Media Coordinator: Amy Hosking
First Nations Acknowledgement
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