Learning and Distraction
Learning to learn in an age of texting, smart phones,
Facebook, and a million other distractions
Experience: Meaningful vs.Trivial
Products of Experience
Character or the contribution of conduct
Philosophy and Meaningfu...
Meaningful Experiences
What are meaningful experiences like?
Meaningful Experiences
are...
They are absorbing and intense:
• They pull us in, body and soul
• We invest all our attenti...
Meaning accumulates...
At the end of the experience...
• we look back on what just happened and are
amazed.
• We're proud ...
How can you tell?
• How can you tell if you've been having a
meaningful experience?
• Thoughts? Examples?
How to tell you’ve
been having a
meaningful experience
• When we're distracted during such
experiences, we're often stunne...
Examples of meaningful
(absorbing/intense)
experiences?
• Great book, concert, movie, e.g.
• Conversation about something ...
What about “trivial
experiences”?
What are they like?
Trivial experiences
• They don't absorb us or are very faint.
• or, they do absorb us, but we cannot
remember them the nex...
Cumulative Products of
meaningful experience?
• What are some of the outcomes or
products of meaningful experiences?
Meaningful products...
• Friendship and love.
• Family bonds.
• Creative, athletic, or artistic talents.
• Critical and sc...
Reviewing:
Meaningful Experiences
• are absorbing and intense:
we invest all our attention
• accumulate—we learn and
grow ...
Character
What kinds of character traits might a
person need to recognize the difference
between the meaningful and trivia...
Character, cont’d.
• Patience/Perseverance--the ability to delay or
deny pleasure and gratification; to “stick with it.”
• ...
Philosophy and
Meaningful Experiences
Philosophy investigates topics which bear on the living of
a meaningful life:
• What...
Philosophical
Topics
• Topics can...
• be difficult--unusual, complex, or abstract.
• accumulate into systems or world-view...
Philosophical
Topics
• Topics can...
• seem impractical--
• but typically, these topics have been
important for many hundr...
Principle of Charity
• #1 hint for learning philosophy:
• Read or listen to the person or text
and give it the maximum amo...
Additional hint:
• #2 hint for learning philosophy:
• Go to Dr. Hildebrand’s webpage for additional hints on paper
writing...
Reviewing:
Certain character traits are important for
learning philosophy
Patience/temperance; reverence
Courage; discrimi...
Reviewing:
#1 hint for learning philosophy:
First Detach
• Suspend judgment,
• Give author maximum initial credit,
• Learn...
Listen to Nietzsche
In the midst of an age of 'work', that is to say, of
hurry, of indecent and perspiring haste, which
wa...
Warnings: Distraction
“Distraction” is...
In distraction there is a
• loss of attention or focus
• dividing of attention or focus
In either case...
What about “multi-tasking”?
How do we “multi-task”?
What causes self-distraction?
• Examples?
Deeper question:
Where does our modern need to be so distracted
come from?
• Why are we bored?
• Why are we anxious?
• Why...
How effective
is multi-tasking?
Not very.
Recent brain science shows:
• we are not wired to multitask
• people who appear good at multitasking
• actually have good ...
Multi-taskers are deluded
• Clifford I. Nass, a professor of psychology at
Stanford University
• "Heavy multitaskers are o...
Sources of self-distraction:
• Some sources of self-
distraction:
• Cell phone
• Internet surfing
• TV or radio or
music pl...
Multitasking harms attention which
diminishes working memory
• "Why is it that some people seem to reason well and
others ...
Multitasking also harms
long term memory:
• Distraction negatively effects
• the encoding of information into long-term
me...
Reviewing:
Multi-tasking harms:
• attention
• working or short term memory
• long term memory
• in other words: reasoning
Other costs to
distraction:
• Let’s forget about psychology and cognitive
achievement
• What else is lost when we’re const...
Other costs...
• missing chances to
• see something unique or
• meet a new person
• less in tune with environment or natur...
We can distinguish between kinds of experience
• (Meaningful vs.Trivial)
Meaningful experience leads to important products...
Any questions?
Presentation copyright 2010, David Hildebrand
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Learning and distraction.key

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This is a draft of a presentation meant to help students understand why concentration is important for learning philosophy and why distraction from various sources (including internet, cell phones, etc.) harm learning and meaningful experience.

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  • Transcript of "Learning and distraction.key"

    1. 1. Learning and Distraction Learning to learn in an age of texting, smart phones, Facebook, and a million other distractions
    2. 2. Experience: Meaningful vs.Trivial Products of Experience Character or the contribution of conduct Philosophy and Meaningful Experience Understanding Philosophy Distraction: Sources and Dangers Outline
    3. 3. Meaningful Experiences What are meaningful experiences like?
    4. 4. Meaningful Experiences are... They are absorbing and intense: • They pull us in, body and soul • We invest all our attention into them. • We may lose track of time, where we are, or even who we're with in these experiences.
    5. 5. Meaning accumulates... At the end of the experience... • we look back on what just happened and are amazed. • We're proud of how we spent our time. • Something accumulates from the experience. • We learn something and grow from the experience.
    6. 6. How can you tell? • How can you tell if you've been having a meaningful experience? • Thoughts? Examples?
    7. 7. How to tell you’ve been having a meaningful experience • When we're distracted during such experiences, we're often stunned or even angry at the interruption. • Something important has been taken from us!
    8. 8. Examples of meaningful (absorbing/intense) experiences? • Great book, concert, movie, e.g. • Conversation about something that really matters. • The search and discovery of something which has puzzled us. (The “Eureka” moment in science.) • Playing a musical instrument--being “in the zone.” • Teaching a friend how to snowboard.
    9. 9. What about “trivial experiences”? What are they like?
    10. 10. Trivial experiences • They don't absorb us or are very faint. • or, they do absorb us, but we cannot remember them the next day. • Looking back, we think we could have done something better with our time.We feel like we "wasted" our time. • Nothing accumulates from the experience. We don't learn anything or grow from the experience.
    11. 11. Cumulative Products of meaningful experience? • What are some of the outcomes or products of meaningful experiences?
    12. 12. Meaningful products... • Friendship and love. • Family bonds. • Creative, athletic, or artistic talents. • Critical and scientific sharpness of mind. • Sense of aesthetic taste or appreciation-- heightened sensitivities. • Richer, more complex values.
    13. 13. Reviewing: Meaningful Experiences • are absorbing and intense: we invest all our attention • accumulate—we learn and grow from the experience. • are marked by our desire not to be interrupted; our focus on their importance • Product examples: friendship, love, skills and talents, intellect, sensitivity, values Trivial experiences • don't absorb; are very faint. • are not memorable; feel like a "waste" of our time • nothing accumulates— don't learn or grow
    14. 14. Character What kinds of character traits might a person need to recognize the difference between the meaningful and trivial?
    15. 15. Character, cont’d. • Patience/Perseverance--the ability to delay or deny pleasure and gratification; to “stick with it.” • Reverence--for the values which matter the most. • Courage--to turn down or away from experiences or people whose habits we judge unworthy of us. • Intellectual acumen--to create criteria to discriminate between meaningful and trivial experiences.
    16. 16. Philosophy and Meaningful Experiences Philosophy investigates topics which bear on the living of a meaningful life: • What is justice? • Can God’s existence be proved—and why try? • What causes human loneliness? • How can we tell right from wrong? • What’s the difference between knowledge & opinion?
    17. 17. Philosophical Topics • Topics can... • be difficult--unusual, complex, or abstract. • accumulate into systems or world-views • To grasp another person's world view often requires that we allow it to unfold and that we set our own expectations aside.We must allow it to inhabit.
    18. 18. Philosophical Topics • Topics can... • seem impractical-- • but typically, these topics have been important for many hundreds of years. • Topics can challenge, emotionally-- • we can find ourselves cringing or squirming about some topics, but it is important to push past these initial reactions.
    19. 19. Principle of Charity • #1 hint for learning philosophy: • Read or listen to the person or text and give it the maximum amount of credit. • Train yourself to suspend judgment and be able to carefully re-state the point being made. • Unless you do these things first, you have no good grounds for criticizing the argument.
    20. 20. Additional hint: • #2 hint for learning philosophy: • Go to Dr. Hildebrand’s webpage for additional hints on paper writing, text markup, and learning philosophy: • http://www.davidhildebrand.org/teaching/tips-hints/
    21. 21. Reviewing: Certain character traits are important for learning philosophy Patience/temperance; reverence Courage; discrimination Philosophy's topics: complex, abstract, systemic seem impractical but most are central to human self understanding can challenge, emotionally
    22. 22. Reviewing: #1 hint for learning philosophy: First Detach • Suspend judgment, • Give author maximum initial credit, • Learn the argument • #1 hint for learning philosophy: • Go to Dr. Hildebrand’s webpage for additional hints on paper writing, text markup, and
    23. 23. Listen to Nietzsche In the midst of an age of 'work', that is to say, of hurry, of indecent and perspiring haste, which wants to 'get everything done' at once, including every old or new book: this art [philosophy] does not so easily get anything done, it teaches to read well, that is to say, to read slowly, deeply, looking cautiously before and aft, with reservations, with doors left open, with delicate eyes and fingers. (Dawn, Preface)
    24. 24. Warnings: Distraction
    25. 25. “Distraction” is... In distraction there is a • loss of attention or focus • dividing of attention or focus In either case the central focus • is lost or diminished by something unrelated.
    26. 26. What about “multi-tasking”?
    27. 27. How do we “multi-task”? What causes self-distraction? • Examples?
    28. 28. Deeper question: Where does our modern need to be so distracted come from? • Why are we bored? • Why are we anxious? • Why do we need constant contact? • Are we worried about nuclear war or did we not get enough love from our mothers?
    29. 29. How effective is multi-tasking? Not very.
    30. 30. Recent brain science shows: • we are not wired to multitask • people who appear good at multitasking • actually have good working memories and • use them to pay attention to one input at a time. • studies show that a person interrupted • takes 50% longer to accomplish a task and also • makes up to 50% more errors. Source: John Medina, *Brain Rules*, page 87. Science on multitasking:
    31. 31. Multi-taskers are deluded • Clifford I. Nass, a professor of psychology at Stanford University • "Heavy multitaskers are often extremely confident in their abilities…but there's evidence that those people are actually worse at multitasking than most people." • Evidence: 2009 study finding that self-described multitaskers performed much worse on cognitive and memory tasks that involved distraction than those who prefer to focus on single tasks. • Source: http://chronicle.com/article/Scholars-Turn-Their-Attention/63746/
    32. 32. Sources of self-distraction: • Some sources of self- distraction: • Cell phone • Internet surfing • TV or radio or music player • Anxiety, fear, ambivalence
    33. 33. Multitasking harms attention which diminishes working memory • "Why is it that some people seem to reason well and others don't? • Part of the reason...is that higher-working-memory- capacity people are simply better able to control their attention." Source: Michael J. Kane, Associate Professor of Psychology at the U. of North Carolina, Greensboro
    34. 34. Multitasking also harms long term memory: • Distraction negatively effects • the encoding of information into long-term memory. • Why? Even under optimal conditions, it takes significant time for the brain to switch from one goal to another, from one set of rules to another. • "There is a switching time cost whenever the subject shifts from the [one] task to [another].And those extra time costs quickly add up."
    35. 35. Reviewing: Multi-tasking harms: • attention • working or short term memory • long term memory • in other words: reasoning
    36. 36. Other costs to distraction: • Let’s forget about psychology and cognitive achievement • What else is lost when we’re constantly self-distracted?
    37. 37. Other costs... • missing chances to • see something unique or • meet a new person • less in tune with environment or nature (less "present" in the moment) • increased number of trivial experiences instead of memorable, deep experience • over time, inability to build meaningful projects • less critical mind = more vulnerable to harm • more dangerous to others--distracted driving, e.g.
    38. 38. We can distinguish between kinds of experience • (Meaningful vs.Trivial) Meaningful experience leads to important products we value • (Friendship, talents, etc.) Character is key to having more meaningful experiences. • (Especially detaching and suspending judgment) Philosophy deals in meaningful experience and is, hopefully, an example as well.To understand philosophy and increase meaningful experience we need • to guard against distraction • by investigating distraction’s sources and harms Summing Up:
    39. 39. Any questions? Presentation copyright 2010, David Hildebrand
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