Stupidity By Email

by Marianne Richmond on June 5, 2005

In my email today I received a newsletter from the Amen Clinic that had an article entitled CHECKING E-MAILS TOO FREQUENTLY MAY MAKE YOUR STUPID. Dr. Amen has written extensively about the brain and in fact calls his newsletter, The Brain in the News and his latest book is called Change Your Brain Change Your Life. He states that emails can make you more stupid than taking cannabis. "The average IQ loss was measured at 10
points, more than double the four point mean fall found in studies of cannabis users" says Glen
Wilson who conducted the study that Dr. Amen based his newsletter article on.

Dr. Amen writes, "I totally believe the study. Constantly
checking e-mail is stressful and increase stress hormones damage cells in the memory centers
of the brain, and can be addictive as one is always waiting for the next good
e-mail or cell message to hit, like waiting for the next
black jack in the card game 21
. The anticipation of something good keeps us checking something
routine. It also distracts us from staying focused on the person or task at

So there you have it…checking email has turned us
into stupid addicts, one step below pot smoking gamblers. This startling news
was first reported in the  Management Issues Blog on April 22nd under the
headline, "Too
Much Email Rots Your Brain." The disorder was dubbed by Dr.
Wilson as "infomania". The
research study as it turns out, was sponsored by Hewlett Packard. The Management Issues
Blog referred to a 2003 study that reported than a third of CIO’s and IT Mangers in the USA believed
that losing email for a week would be more traumatic than a divorce or having
a car accident.

One can only wonder what effect blogging,
podcasting and aggre-gatoring will have on our cognitive



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