Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Something to Consider

Toronto, Ontario

We have all heard sad stats of the screen immersion by our kids – things like the average child in North America spending 15 – 25 minutes playing outside each day, and some 7 ½ hours in front of a screen. Another discovery is the 80% of 5 year olds who are computer users.

An article was forwarded to me showing negative effects of the lack of outdoors, author Kevin Charles Redman wrote about research done by psychologists on a word play called “Remote Associates Test” or “RAT”, a study on creativity and intuition. Whatever studies have been done on the human brain to do with technology is limited, less than even the brain on drugs – the many social psychologists are concerned about the negative effect the screen exposure has on our neural circuitry. I felt a lift reading this article after I returned from almost a 2 hour jaunt in the snow bound ravine. I felt I was doing the right thing. This one professor of cognition at the University of Utah, David Strayer, expressed that his thoughts were more fluid and that the brain felt more limber on back country trips while his undergraduates also felt a mental boost from camping trips. To quote from the article, “The RAT was easy to administer – no laptops involved. 56 students were given the test; half took it before their course began and half took it midway through. The results were striking. Students who took the test after a four day immersion in the back country scored 50% higher than their course mates.”

As I read this and more, you can imagine my elation. If science is totally behind the culture of doing what’s more natural, perhaps this kind of information on the experiments and results could penetrate the educational channels much more. I am saddened that at the same time we have the high percentage of non adventuresome folks for natural settings, for walking, etc.; we are in a sedentary slump. It would be interesting to see the long term effects of being in the trenches of technology, especially when devoid of any spiritual inkling.

8 KM

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