Archive for the ‘human’ Category

Adult Brains’ ‘Internal Chatter’ Limits Multitasking

October 30, 2008

It’s not every brain scientist who explains her research using Shakespeare. But University of Michigan psychology professor Cindy Lustig describes brain development over a lifetime as a correlation with Shakespeare’s “seven ages of man.”

From NPR

Using behavioral tests and brain scans, Lustig and her collaborators, Drs. Randy Buckner and Denise Head, study how age affects the brain’s ability to multitask. While the young child’s brain is only capable of focusing on one thing at a time, as the brain develops it is able to switch between tasks quite quickly, reaching a multitasking peak in the 20s or 30s, says Lustig. Beyond that, the brain experiences “internal chatter” and has to work a lot harder to suppress distractions and maintain focus.

Single-Track Minds

Early in life, Lustig says, we have a phenomenal ability to ignore everything except what’s right in front of us.

When children focus on a game or a puzzle, she says, they are not thinking about anything else. They are not thinking about their day or their grocery list. They focus solely on the one task, says Lustig, and don’t have any background noise.

Young children have trouble taking on more than one task at a time. Parents often exploit this weakness. When a toddler wants Big Brother’s favorite truck, they redirect him toward that cool race car in the corner.

Read the rest and listen to the broadcast:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=96213400

Migrants are China’s ‘factories without smoke’

February 2, 2008
By Alexandra Harney
For CNN
February 2, 2008

Editor’s note: Alexandra Harney is a Hong Kong-based writer and the author of the forthcoming book “The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage” (Penguin Press, 2008).

HONG KONG, China (CNN) — In the crowds still stranded by snow at train stations around China stand some of the country’s most valuable economic assets: migrant workers.

art.migrant.shang.afp.jpg

A migrant worker, right, joins a queue waiting to board trains this past week in Shanghai, China.

This group of 150 million to 200 million farmers — more than the population of the United Kingdom, France and Australia combined — account for the majority of employees in China’s world-beating manufacturing sector, the bulk of its coal miners and most of its construction workers.

During the past two decades, according to a conservative estimate from UNESCO and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, migrants have contributed 16 percent of gross domestic product growth.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/02/01/china.migrants/index.html?section=cnn_latest