28. “Popcorn Brain” Has Become a Real Thing
The term “popcorn brain” goes back to 2011, when Dr. David Levy, who works out of the University of Washington School of Information, wanted to describe some of the effects that smartphones were having on people’s brains. In short, their cognitive abilities were diminishing. As already discussed regarding attention span, social media, and smartphone devices rewire people’s brains and shift their brain’s chemical balances. The dopamine hits from social media help to create repetitive behaviors of checking phones and apps. The validation found from those sources and the ease of finding it makes it hard to focus on other activities.
The term “popcorn brain” refers to the idea that people who are always online cannot focus and that their brains continuously shift from one idea to the next. It’s like they are constantly scrolling through a news feed, even when they are not online. While the ability to rapidly shift tasks can be incredibly beneficial in some high-pressure careers, it is often detrimental and frowned upon in most walks of life, as anyone with ADHD can attest to. Most work requires us to focus on single tasks for extended periods, something that the popcorn brain makes increasingly tricky.