2. Recent research has examined the effect of the digital or wired age on adolescent learning, concentration, and multi-tasking. What are your thoughts about adolescents’ ability to multi-task? Is the modern world of potential 24-7 cognitive stimulation giving rise to human 2.0, such that this generation will be wired to process information much better than previous cohorts, or is all of this cognitive stimulation and distraction producing a generation who is less able to consider the true depth of complicated issues? Consider recent research in answering these questions.
One area in which these issues have combined to create real problems is the area of text messaging while driving. One study (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2009) found that the risk of collision increases 23 times when drivers are texting. Many states (and cities) have passed or are in the process of passing laws to make texting while driving illegal, though some evidence suggests that teens might ignore the laws designed to protect the safety of others. Knowing what you know about adolescent cognition, what potential barriers might this law face? How could this message best be sent? In answering all of these questions, consider relevant recent research and frame your response in the language of the course materials.
Selective Attention: concentrating on one task while blocking out awareness of others
According to a study (Ridderinkhof), the older a child is the better able they are to block out what doesn't matter and pay more attention to what does.
Divided Attention: Attending to more than one stimulus at the same time. The amount of attention available does not increase from childhood to adolescence, the ability to control how the attention is spread does.
Adolescents spend many hours on media. Over 7 hours daily for 8-10 year olds and 8 hours for 12-13 year olds and just over 7 hours again for 15-18 year olds. This includes TV, radio, movies in theaters, books, magazines, video games, computer, and leisure media.
Many adolescents have a TV in their bedroom.
McMahan, I. (2009). Adolscence. New York New York: Pearson.

From Textbook:
-"Teens tend to believe that bad things are more likely to happen to others than to them" (McMahan, 2009, p.115)
-"There is also increasing evidence that the brain systems involved in controlling risky behaivor mature more slowly than those that push toward risky thrills" (McMahan, 2009, p.115)

Outside Reasearch:
-Rubinstein, J. & Meyer, D. (2001). Executive Control of Cognitive Processes in Task Switching. Journal of Experimental Psychology - Human Perception and
Performance, 27(4), 763-797. http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2001/08/multitasking.aspx
This was a study that showed that participants lost time when they had to switch between tasks.

-Gardner, M. & Steinberg, L. (2005). Peer Influence on Risk Taking, Risk Preference, and Risky Decision Making in Adolescence and Adulthood: An Experimental
Study. Developmental Psychology, 41(4), 625-635.

This was a study that showed adolescents take more risks than young adults.


-Drews, F., Pasupathi, M., & Strayer, D. (2008). Passenger and Cell Phone Conversations in Simulated Driving. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 14(4),
392-400.

This was a study that showed that drivers talking on their cell phone were more distracted than either talking to a passenger or completely concentrating on driving.


This particular study looks at the statistics involved with texting and driving, along with the thought at having laws in place to prevent the problem.




Summary
1. If such laws are put into place, there must be a better way to enforce these laws.
2. Younger and younger drivers are involved in fatal accidents, from distracted driving especially since 2008.
3. Approximately 1/3 of drivers actually use a hands free device in their vehicle.
4. 30 states currently have text messaging bans while driving.
5. Suggests mandatory hands free technology for all newer vehicles.


Wilson, F. A., & Stimpson, J. P. (2010). Trends in Fatalities From Distracted Driving in the United States, 1999 to 2008. American Journal of Public Health, 100(11), 2213-2219.


This is an article about how hands free phones are just as distracting as holding a phone while driving. It compares the danger equivalency to drunk driving and that the distraction comes from within the brain.
The Illusion of Safety

Helpful definitions from the cognitive changes chapter in the textbook:
Cognitive development: The ways the thinking process changes with age and experience.
Competence-performance gap: The fact that people do not consistently do as well at some tasks as they are capable of doing.
Personal fable: Believing that one's experiences are unique and that one is exempt from the usual consequences of one's actions.