People who walked the city streets scored significantly lower on attention and working-memory tests.
The result is something called directed attention fatigue, a neurological symptom that occurs when our voluntary attention system, the part of the brain that allows us to concentrate in spite of distractions, becomes worn down.
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BOSTON, Mass. (November 9, 2010)—For the first time in history, more people live
in cities than in rural areas. According to the
United Nations, that urban head count tallies
up to more than half of the world’s 6.7 billion
people. While city life may offer many benefits—ready access to social and cultural events, more
employment opportunities, and the promise of
higher living standards, as examples—research
does show that city life can have drawbacks. For
one thing, it’s hard on the brain.
Scientists who have begun to look at how theRead more at hms.harvard.edu
city affects our brains have uncovered some
surprising findings, including evidence that city
life can impair basic mental processes, such as
memory and attention. A study conducted by
University of Michigan researchers in 2008 found
that simply spending a few minutes on a busy city
street can affect the brain’s ability to focus and to
help us manage self-control.
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