How Does Digital Stress Affect Your Brain? [infographic]

Digital stress abounds in today’s tech-centric society, and this infographic from Online Universities explores the impact such stress has on the brain. We consume significantly more media than we did 50 years ago — 12 hours per day in 2010 compared to just five hours per day in 1960. What’s more, we’re multitasking far more than we used to, and that’s where the trouble lies.

The brain can manage two tasks at a time. When you take on a third task, your brain becomes overwhelmed, and as a result, accuracy drops. In a digital context, this drop in accuracy could manifest itself in several ways, including picking extraneous information over relevant or task-related information, having a hard time switching from one task to another, or poorly filtering out irrelevant information.

There are other, more troubling effects of digital stress. When the brain is overwhelmed, it triggers a “fight or flight” reaction, which in turn causes regions of the brain that deal with empathy to shut down. Those who use the Internet excessively may suffer from gray matter atrophy, which hurts decision-making, concentration and goal-setting abilities. Check out the full infographic for more details.

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(Photo credit: Media Tapper/Online Universities)