Graduate psychology students at UC Davis have found that the brain, rather than working harder to stay focused, actually constructs new pathways for information dissemination “so that task-relevant information is processed most efficiently and external distractions are reduced.”
The study paints a picture of how we function during certain situations and tasks such as driving, test-taking, and of course, playing games. Test subjects were simply asked to look for the letter T within a box and push buttons indicating which way it was oriented; meanwhile, the distractor was a T that lit up or similarly looking Ts. This is like a game, right?
Rather than working harder to focus on, say, beating a chess opponent or a boss in a game at hand, the brain reconfigures its normal neural pathways so that we can accomplish the primary task. This isn’t to say we are safe from interferences (troll on, gamer friends), but our brains ensure that we are more likely to finish a task rather than abandon it under distraction.
– Lyndsey Edelman