Give it a rest - Catholic Courier

Give it a rest

According to a study from the University of California at San Francisco, rats that are exposed to new experiences show new patterns of activity in their brains. However, the rats only seem able to create persistent memories when they take a break from the experiences. The study suggests there may be a similar reality for humans and memory, raising questions about the nonstop barrage of information and time fillers that we employ. The New York Times


that reported on the study considered how humans use smartphones and other technology to play games, check e-mails or other such activities during what used to be downtime for the brain. More and more we are seeking stimuli to fill in every moment "wasted" in line at the bank, waiting for a bus or even during a lull in dinnertime conversation!

But this constant stream of information may be undermining our ability to remember any of it! Just like students do better remembering new material when they sleep for a time after reading it, we may be missing critical creative connections when we don’t allow ourselves time to process and create memories. One of the great features of the Internet is the ability to surf from one topic to another, in a sort of virtual stream of consciousness. But we won’t make actual connections without some time away, at rest.

Sounds a bit like Sabbath, doesn’t it? Maybe there’s something to that notion after all …

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