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Scientists find physical clutter negatively affects your ability to focus, process in - Printable Version

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Scientists find physical clutter negatively affects your ability to focus, process in - Violet - 2013 Jul 14 06:41

From the Unclutterer:

Quote:by Erin Doland

Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute published the results of a study they conducted in the January issue of The Journal of Neuroscience that relates directly to uncluttered and organized living. From their report “Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex”:

Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.

Or, to paraphrase in non-neuroscience jargon: When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.

The clutter competes for your attention in the same way a toddler might stand next to you annoyingly repeating, “candy, candy, candy, candy, I want candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy …” Even though you might be able to focus a little, you’re still aware that a screaming toddler is also vying for your attention. The annoyance also wears down your mental resources and you’re more likely to become frustrated.

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and other physiological measurement tools to map the brain’s responses to organized and disorganized stimuli and to monitor task performance. The conclusions were strong — if you want to focus to the best of your ability and process information as effectively as possible, you need to clear the clutter from your home and work environment. This research shows that you will be less irritable, more productive, distracted less often, and able to process information better with an uncluttered and organized home and office.

Read the original article from The Journal of Neuroscience: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21228167



RE: Scientists find physical clutter negatively affects your ability to focus, process in - Tintagell - 2013 Jul 14 12:22

You know, this is probably true. I find I'm more at ease when things are cleaner and tidier. However, in a school like environment, I really like it when the teacher personalizes their classroom; not on a clutter like level, but makes it look like a familiar place instead of a sterile doctor's office (which was almost every math classroom I had in high school).


RE: Scientists find physical clutter negatively affects your ability to focus, process in - Dussander - 2013 Jul 14 12:46

Quote:Or, to paraphrase in non-neuroscience jargon: When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.

No doubt about it, as far as I'm concerned. But I know several people who simply can't work in a tidy environment, preferring what they call 'creative mess' instead.


RE: Scientists find physical clutter negatively affects your ability to focus, process in - Phlegethon - 2013 Jul 14 16:37

I don't need a scientist for the blatantly obvious. What I need is more space for my archives.