Having trouble concentrating on this story? It could be because your brain is bombarded with more than 100,000 words a day.
The average adult hears or reads 100,500 words a day, research shows.
And the ‘day’ takes into account only waking hours outside work – meaning the true figure is much higher.
Researcher Roger Bohn estimated the amount of information people are exposed to inside and outside the home, for activities other than work.
Trips to the cinema, listening to the radio, talking on the phone, playing video games, surfing the internet and reading the newspaper were all factored in to create a ‘snapshot of the information revolution’.
It concluded that the average adult was exposed to more than 100,000 words daily and 34 gigabytes of information – or a fifth of the storage capacity of a notepad computer.
There are concerns our brains are being overloaded and even that their structure is being changed by the flood of data.
Susan Greenfield, one of Britain’s most eminent scientists, has repeatedly warned that social networking sites may be harming children’s brains by shortening attention spans, encouraging instant gratification and making young people more self-centred.
Constant computer use may also be ‘infantalising’ the brain, making it harder to learn when things to wrong.
Professor Bohn, from the University of California, said: ‘I think one thing is clear: Our attention is being chopped into shorter intervals and that is probably not good for thinking deeper thoughts.’
Oxford University neuroscientist Professor Colin Blakemore added: ‘The brain can grow and increase in size depending on how it is used. Perhaps dealing with this new information will cause new nerve cells to be born.’