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Using Multiple Forms of Media At Once Correlates With Depression, Anxiety

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the my-tv-and-my-tablet-and-my-ereader-disagree dept.

Media 174

pigrabbitbear writes "A new study (abstract) from Michigan State University shows that media multitasking exhibits a strong correlation with social anxiety and depression. Importantly, the direction of causality remains to be seen: Does multi-tasking make us more anxious and depressed? Or, as the study's leader, Mark W. Becker, an assistant professor of psychology, put it in an email, 'are depressed and anxious [people] turning toward media multitasking as a form of distraction?' The results of this study aren't conclusive in that regard, he says. But they're an important step. 'While that question will not be easy to answer, it is worth pursing because the practical implications of the findings depend on the causal direction,' he said."

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174 comments

Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (5, Interesting)

PopAndGame (2790489) | about a year and a half ago | (#42218677)

There was this old study on how using multiple tabs while browsing means you're depressed. It basically said girls are more normal in this regard because they just have their Facebook page open and AT MOST browse just one other website for reading. At the same time nerds were thought depressed because they couldn't keep themselves on one page but kept switching to many different pages, on tabs. Might have some truth to reality, especially if looking at the geeks I know.

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42218709)

Fuck off, troll.

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42218887)

Fuck off, troll.

Because this response seems polite, reasonable, and not out of anger or anxiety?!

Not like it matters, modern psychology just wants to consider everybody sick and needing of social reprogammi... I mean secular counseling.

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (2)

sinij (911942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219097)

Clearly, the main problem was the post above you was that the poster was multi-tabbig his media.

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219625)

Clearly, the main problem was the post above you was that the poster was multi-tabbig his meds.

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42220535)

while I agree that modern psychology is abused to label and dismiss people/behaviors society doesn't like, I don't think counseling based on 'reading' chicken entrails or praying to sky daddies is any better.

Re: Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (4, Funny)

Dupple (1016592) | about a year and a half ago | (#42218789)

Watching old Dr Whofrom the 80's and commenting on /. From my phone. I wouldn't say I'm depressed, but that behaviour is pretty sad!

Re: Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (2)

Zordak (123132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42218867)

That's just sad. How can posting on /. be even momentarily more interesting than old Dr. Who from the 80s? Unless you're watching Colin Baker, in which case I can understand it.

Re: Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (3, Funny)

Dupple (1016592) | about a year and a half ago | (#42218939)

Trial of a time lord - Colin baker. My only defence is Peri

Re: Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42218983)

Sophie Aldred was a much better excuse to watch Dr Who.

Re: Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219171)

Doctor Who was pretty terrible by the time Sophie joined the show, but she's the best.

Re: Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (1)

martas (1439879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42220377)

For a moment there I thought Dr Whofrom was some German scientist that did an educational TV show in the 80s.

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42218855)

There is nothing normal about girls.

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219049)

Uh oh. Everyone thinks I'm crazy because I typically have 4-7 browser windows open, each with 10-50 open tabs. ... come to think of it, I guess I was diagnosed with severe depression once.

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (3, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219287)

I have oodles of social anxiety. It started long before teh Internets.

Not sure when it started. As early as first grade ca. 1972, I recall a tendency towards incendiary embarrassment coupled with a feeling I was surrounded by idiots.

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219249)

Or perhaps it is because the smart people see how much of a depressing shithole the world is and the "ignorance is bliss" types don't?

They live in their little closed-off worlds (facebook, quite literally), while the geeks all read about, well, shit like this, on our slashdot, instead of the new galactic empire agreements between 2 civilizations or how our new Titan-base got a new colony established, or to be more (sadly) realistic, the new processors from Intel or how much more Microsoft is suffering for decades of torture they forced on the industry.

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (1)

PopAndGame (2790489) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219303)

Like that's so much different from shopping at your local clothing store or other brand name?

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (5, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219649)

I don't really get what's unexpected about this. One of the well known effects of depression is a lack of interest in, well... anything. People who are depressed go out desperately searching for things that interest them, generally not finding it. Surely both having multiple tabs open, and trying to watch TV at the same time as reading shit on the internet is simply a symptom of that search for something to care about.

That is, my hypothesis is that the causation is depression causes multitasking for information... Not multitasking with media causes depression.

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (2)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219961)

desperately searching for things that interest them, generally not finding it

No, you don't get it. We need distraction.

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219663)

I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder which has depression like symptoms and I'm like this in every aspect of my life.

I can go to clean my room and when I'm done I've paid my bills, ironed my shirts and fixed the sink as well. I can't just keep one train of thought/action going I always veer off in other directions.

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42220321)

Vyvanse

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219847)

I'm forgetful and tabs help me remember things without cluttering my favorites up (sure you can create folders/groupings etc. but I'm also lazy and don't want to retain the information forever). They also help connect a series of ideas and how I begin to connect a series of thoughts together. I often keep tabs open over long time spans (weeks) to be able to step back in the thought process and try new approaches if I find something flawed or want to branch off and earlier thought. Tabs are quite useful for investigating ideas, at least for me.

I'd say there are legitimate uses for tabs outside of social anxiety induced reasons. I think how one organizes and switches through tabbed sessions as well as the actual content loaded in each session are better measures of depression than simply having a lot of tabs open.

Maybe it's denial and I'm just miserably depressed(!). I don't think that's the case though ;)

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219865)

Usually I'll only be using one tab. The first thing I do when I install seamonkey/firefox is turn tab auto-hide back on.

Tabs generally only get opened if I need to have multiple references open... or if I'm looking at something like a forum index, I'll open each thread I'm going to want to look at in a new tab.

I'll then start going through the tabs one by one, closing them as I finish with them - finally back at only one or two open, which again tend to be things like indexes.

Is this an unusual usage pattern?

Re:Also called "multiple-tab syndrome" (3, Interesting)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#42220339)

I'm just going to throw this out there... since I don't have any points to mod down

Internet habits can be an expression of mental state... but let's think about this... so IS EVERYTHING ELSE. Your style of clothes, mannerisms, speech patterns, ALL of those stem from mental state. I can have 20-30 tabs open at a time while I'm writing code, does that make me depressed? no, paid? yes.

Some people put the TV on to say drown out external noise and then focus in on what they're doing on their computer, a TV is easier to focus with than the contractor's saw at your neighbor's house.

I can go on and on with examples, but let's just say these studies have no merit.

Depression causes multitasking (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42218809)

I strongly believe that the cause-effect relationship is that depressed/anxious people are using more social media. Why? It's an attempt to find something or someone worthwhile to alleviate the feelings of boredom and/or loneliness.

Happy confident people will find some task or project or following and happily stick to it for a while. Depressed, lonely, scatterbrained people will turn to things like social media to try to find whatever it is that they don't know they're looking for.

This is my belief..... of course, I might not know what I'm talking about.

Re:Depression causes multitasking (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42218965)

From personal experience, if I'm feeling depressed then I spend more time on Facebook and less on everything else. If I'm feeling pretty good, I'll have Netflix and about two dozen websites of articles, games, etc open and forget all about social media sites.

Re:Depression causes multitasking (3, Funny)

sinij (911942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219173)

Research shows that long-term even blind and quadriplegic people report average happiness. If we extrapolate these findings to your facebook predicament -it is likely that in the long run you will adapt to having your mother as the only facebook friend and will return to average happiness.

Re:Depression causes multitasking (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219415)

My mother hasn't friended me on facebook. Just that one weird aunt everyone has.

Re:Depression causes multitasking (3, Funny)

macbeth66 (204889) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219631)

You must be really be depressed if your own mother won't friend you.

Re:Depression causes multitasking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42220205)

Thankfully, my mom has never thought to join Facebook and friend me, but my dad did. Then he died and Facebook started reminding me I wasn't keeping in touch with him anymore. That's depressing. I finally quit using Facebook (that wasn't the main reason).

Re:Depression causes multitasking (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219239)

Let's just be clear. Depression and feeling depressed are not the same thing. They actually have little in common. Depression is a condition of extended psychomotor retardation that typically lasts 6 months if treated and 12 months if untreated. Many people with depression don't always feel sadness. In particular, men are more likely to be irritable than sad.

I know that it is popular to compare depression with feeling down, grieving, disappointment, etc. This only does people with actual depression a disservice because depression is not something something that can be fixed on a time scale of hours, days, or weeks.

Re:Depression causes multitasking (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219029)

Of course my evidence doesn't mean anything since I have only my wife to "study". She has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

It seems that she really has a problem with facebook, but she doesn't use multiple devices at the same time. I would second your belief.

Time to use this to my advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42220143)

Think about it.

Women are stereotypically better at multi-tasking than men
Therefore, women are more depressed than men.
Therefore, women need a man around to be happy.

Sounds legit to me! Time to hit the bars with my pickup line "Hey baby... if you want to be less depressing, how about you get with ME!" In theory, this would work doubly well on lesbians.

Wish me luck!

I suspect there's some level of feedback (4, Insightful)

Zordak (123132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42218845)

IANAPsychologist, but intuitively I suspect that there's some feedback going on. A person is unhappy or lonely, so he seeks stimulus from multiple media inputs to try to fill the emptiness. It's gratifying for a while, but he quickly reaches diminishing returns and the endorphin rush peters out. Then he feels more depressed and lonely, so he seeks even more stimulus, and so on.

Re:I suspect there's some level of feedback (2)

sinij (911942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219073)

Is IANAP a consequence of turning IANAL into IAAL?

Re:I suspect there's some level of feedback (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about a year and a half ago | (#42220171)

No actually its because of the IAAL types that something that might be considered "Professional Advice" must be preceded with I Am Not A %Professional% to flag that this might be WRONG

and besides with the IAAL types they will always say IAAL But Im Not YOUR Lawyer and may not even cover Your Case In Your Location.

This research isn't the only one. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219081)

When therapists are treating depression and other psychological problems, they recommend keeping video games, Internet and TV time down to a minimum. Some even put a time limit of 2 hours. Getting out and exercising and being face to face with people and doing meaningful work will help one with their depression and weight control.

Re:I suspect there's some level of feedback (1)

HPHatecraft (2748003) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219927)

Hey screw you, Jason! I'll bathe and get some sunlight when I'm good and ready. Jeez.

All I want to know is .... (1)

3seas (184403) | about a year and a half ago | (#42218853)

... what does this mean for "Multi-Media"... man's that's depressing.

Makes sense to me (5, Insightful)

kid-noodle (669957) | about a year and a half ago | (#42218865)

So, with the big flashing red caveat that this is entirely anecdotal and drawn from personal experience, I recall 'spamming' my senses with as many inputs as possible (lying in bed simultaneously listening to music, a film on, reading a book, eating seriously high fat/salt/sugar foodstuffs, etc.) quite a lot while I was in the deeper throes of reasonably severe depression. Retrospectively it seems like an attempt to blot out as much of reality as I could, and drown out the sound of my own thoughts.
Funny things, brains.

Re:Makes sense to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42218893)

Damn. Now you're making me sad.

(Says the AC who does pretty much the same thing for pretty much the same reason, I'm guessing.)

Re:Makes sense to me (5, Insightful)

kid-noodle (669957) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219075)

Hey, AC - go get help, get medicated and use the time you are medicated to do CBT (because the combination of the two has a good success rate), start jogging (because annoyingly, this too has a good success rate), eat more healthily (specific benefits of this are, I believe, a bit more contentious, but cooking properly is a great and positive activity irregardless), and while you're at it, identify what in your life and yourself you need to change to protect yourself from being depressed. Then use that to actually make the changes - this process took me about five years, but became progressively more worth it and easier. There's no magic bullet, it is hard work, and if you are susceptible to depression you probably need to keep at it in a small way forever.
This doesn't work for everybody (some people do seem to just have bad chemistry), and really isn't easy, but it did for me.

Perhaps the hardest bit is actually getting help in the first place, it took me months and the damage to my life was pretty extensive. Then one day I had a breakdown and sat weeping on my kitchen floor, because I couldn't cope with choosing between frozen pies for dinner and thought "Shit, I can't fix this by myself.". A mere three weeks later I'd actually gone to one of the several doctor's appointments I made.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Don't spam your brain - do something about the sadness and pain.

Re:Makes sense to me (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219951)

Hey, AC - go get help, get medicated

Medication doesn't actually work for most people. A 2008 meta-analysis [plosmedicine.org] of all clinical trials involving SSRIs, including trials the author had to file FOIA requests to get, shows that SSRIs provide no clinically significant benefit to those with a Hamilton Rating [wikipedia.org] below 23. That's "very severe" depression. Side effects of course occur no matter how depressed you are.

That was 4 years ago, no one has since refuted these findings. I've actually sought treatment for depression in the past couple years. I was given a score of 15 and was offered SSRIs. I asked the psychiatrist how she could ethically offer an addictive drug with many side effects when the best science available showed them to be no more effective than harmless glucose. She had no answer, except to say that in her experience they were effective. As if there was no reason to do blinded, placebo controlled studies.

The only conclusion I can reach from this is that psychiatric treatment for depression in all but the most severe cases is a con. If you can still feed yourself, get your ass to work, and sleep at night there's nothing psychiatry can do for you. You might as well rub a crystal on your forehead.

Re:Makes sense to me (2)

kid-noodle (669957) | about a year and a half ago | (#42220325)

I was at the time doing my degree in psychology, the consensus (at least here in the UK), was very clear - SSRIs can be very effective, but only in combination with counselling or something similar. Unfortunately, they don't get used like that. Counselling, and even relatively 'quick fix' type therapies like CBT are staggeringly expensive and time consuming vs. pills. Sadly this means the prescription is the solution option tends to win out.

I do think there's a lot of debate to be had about the efficaciousness of SSRIs in general, they are widely misused and you're quite right to point out that in a lot of cases they really won't help. I also think that the statistical methodology used by pharma to demonstrate their drugs work is misleading at best, and probably outright deceptive (Ben Goldacre has much to say on this subject). However! In this context, I can only offer my anecdotal experience. The greatest benefit to my mental health was certainly not the medication, but the other things I mentioned.
I would take issue with your last statement though - I don't think your assertion is logically sound.

Re:Makes sense to me (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42220409)

The more and more research you do into anti-depressants the more and more harmful they appear to be. I've been depressed for over 16 years (~10 to 26) and have attempted suicide a couple times (left the result up to chance and got lucky). Last year I finally when in for a free session and got diagnosed with double-depression, among other things. I hate taking meds/drugs. I spent all summer researching depression in an attempt to convince myself to start anti-depressants this fall. Instead it convinced me to never take them even once.

Depression used to be something many people would go through once or twice in a life time. It lasted around a year then the person got over it. Nowadays, it's a lifelong, disabling illness that puts you out of work and onto welfare. Anti-depressants are addictive in the sense that your body adjusts (fights against the drug's effects) and you have to take more and more of them for the same effects. Eventually one drug stops working and you have to switch. Once you stop an anti-depressant you get depressed again. People see this as the drug was working and go back on it. However, the withdraw effects exactly match the original symptoms and most people don't know these drugs have any withdraw effects! They get cured normally in around a year but stay on the drugs because they don't notice. These drugs screw with how your brain operations on a chemical level and eventually leads to brain damage. You slowly lose the ability to maintain emotional stability which means you'll start taking more and strong drugs. Then you'll take more drugs to reduce their side effects. People on this path die 20 years earlier than their peers.

The good clinical trials show no benefit of anti-depressants over active placebos (placebos which cause side effects).

The best treatments for depression is exercise, sunlight (sounds stupid but it actually matters), eating the right foods (more fruit and veggies, less meat protein and processed sugar), CBT, and quality social interaction and support. If you can do these things, please skip the drugs. Your life will be so much better in the long run.

I'm still deeply depressed, but I'm slowly working through it on my own. No additional costs, no additional side effects, and no one around me knows. I still can't see any future worth living for me, but the constant wanting and looking for chances die is gone.

I'm not providing sources. You'll learn more if you go research things yourself.

Re:Makes sense to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219039)

I resorted to the same thing just to avoid the "feeling" of depression, eventually included self-harm in order to feel anything. Any stimulus. The numbing effect of depression was unbearable, and unsurprising, the numbing effect of anti-depressants made it worse.

However, I'm happy to report everything is back to normal in my life. I have the occasional relapse, but I have an excellent support (friends and family). I also try to make an effort to make real life social interactions instead of electronic. It's difficult as an introvert, but I feel better about it in the long term.

Re:Makes sense to me (5, Insightful)

kid-noodle (669957) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219203)

Good for you!
I was extremely leery of anti-depressants, but I suspect without them I would in fact be dead. They made me feel a whole other kind of awful (shakes, nausea, no libido, etc. ad nauseam), but did get me to a point where I could actively work on healing myself, and changing my life to protect me in future. I was able to cope without them after not so long - they should in almost all cases be used like a splint for the brain, and discarded when some semblance of normal neurochemistry is restored.

Re:Makes sense to me (4, Informative)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219525)

I went through numerous prescription AD and they all made a bad situation worse. Then I discovered 5-HTP. [wikipedia.org] I noticed improvement after the very first dose. Obviously everyone is going to be different but for anyone going through depression I recommend giving it a try.

First Post! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42218879)

Oh, darn. I was doing other things and I didn't post in time.

Missing out on a FP is making me depressed.

What? No Invalid Causation? (4, Funny)

edibobb (113989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42218907)

It's really nice to see an article on correlation without invalid conclusions of causation. This means that /. readers are more scientifically literate than the rest of the world.

The causality choices aren't mutually exclusive (3, Interesting)

hamjudo (64140) | about a year and a half ago | (#42218973)

Depressed people are also likely to self medicate with cigarettes or alcohol. And using cigarettes or alcohol sometimes leads to depression. In some people, it leads to a positive feedback loop.

Re:The causality choices aren't mutually exclusive (2)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219033)

In some people, it leads to a positive feedback loop.

It doesn't sound very positive to me. *Rimshot*

Re:The causality choices aren't mutually exclusive (1)

ewhenn (647989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219121)

A positive feedback loop sounds great... in my bank account!

Re:The causality choices aren't mutually exclusive (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219349)

There used to be such a thing. Ask your grandparents about the "magic of compounding interest" sometime. If you bought a home, or property, or some stocks in postwar America, you made a lot of money over time, pretty much automatically.

Re:The causality choices aren't mutually exclusive (1)

niado (1650369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42220207)

There used to be such a thing. Ask your grandparents about the "magic of compounding interest" sometime. If you bought a home, or property, or some stocks in postwar America, you made a lot of money over time, pretty much automatically.

This is pretty much the case now. As long as one isn't speculating, real estate and the stock market are still quite lucrative over the long-term.

Re:The causality choices aren't mutually exclusive (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219215)

the seemingly odd wording stems from the cybernetics vocabulary where 'positive feedback loop' describes an effect of amplification, i.e. _positive_ growth, whereas 'negative feedback loop' means the inverse, i.e. damping/attenuation...

Re:The causality choices aren't mutually exclusive (3, Insightful)

arielCo (995647) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219145)

'What are you doing here?' he said to the drunkard whom he found sitting silently in front of a collection of bottles, some empty and some full.
'I am drinking,' answered the drunkard lugubriously.
'Why are you drinking?' the little prince asked.
'In order to forget,' replied the drunkard.
'To forget what?' enquired the little prince, who was already feeling sorry for him.
'To forget that I am ashamed,' the drunkard confesed, hanging his head.
'Ashamed of what?' asked the little prince who wanted to help him.
'Ashamed of drinking!' concluded the drunkard, withdrawing into total silence.
And the little prince went away, puzzled.
'Grown-ups really are very, very odd,' he said to himself as he continued his journey.

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Fiction isn't fact. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219913)

Non-sequitur.

Fail.

Re:The causality choices aren't mutually exclusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219611)

Great! Because medicines also have both lethal and serious health side-effects, so it makes perfect sense to "self medicate" with cigarettes and alchohol.
It's like digging your own hole in the ground, deeper and deeper. A perfect excuse to keep things the way they are or worsen them actually.

Captcha: disown

Re:The causality choices aren't mutually exclusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219973)

Marijuana and alcohol! It's Friday!

Mult-tasking decrease efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219009)

media or not. Mulch-tasking stimulates ADHD. Single-tasking, sharp-razor-thin focus is more efficient in any type of work.

Slashdot (1)

sinij (911942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219019)

Slashdot is my only bookmark and the only website I visit, and as a result it is the only type of media I consume and there is no reason to multitask.

Am I finally ready for happiness?

Hah (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219041)

I read this as I am listening to Pantera, with Facebook, Slashdot, personal e-mail, and work e-mail in opened windows while doing Math homework. Apparently I am on the verge of suicide, based on this article.

Re:Hah (1)

IAmAMacOSXAddict (718470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219187)

LOL That's IT?

I'm at work, and have Lotus notes, Visio, Word, and You tube (streaming some off road Jeep JK trail runs that I'd like to try (no Audio)) open on my first 2 screens, on my 3rd screen I'm using Logmein to access my home machine where I'm on Safari with 6 home page tabs open (including this one), this is all while I'm listening (again) to the Hobbit in an Audiobook on my iphone (in preparation for the movie) with my personal email open and connecting from my 5 email accounts....

According to this article I must be so depresed to be on the cusp of becoming a suiside Bomber and blowing up a small building...

Re:Hah (1)

berashith (222128) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219515)

are you multi-tasking, or just busily not getting shit done? trail runs sound cool though

Re:Hah (1)

Westwood0720 (2688917) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219691)

You tube (streaming some off road Jeep JK trail runs that I'd like to try (no Audio))

Nice. I'm taking my linked Samurai out tomorrow.

Other than that, I have nothing else to offer to this discussion.

Or noise, just don't like the quiet (1)

Volastic (2781511) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219077)

I always have the T.V. going when on the computer, heck it's never off. I have no mental health issues, nor depressed or anxious. I am on the other hand very ADHD. I've found I don't watch T.V. much, so don't have cable or satellite payments, just what's over the air (THIStv and MEtv mostly). I'll be playing Battlefield 3 and find I've been watching a Spanish station (for example) the last 3 hours and not even noticed. I'm always on the internet, but don't do the social sites, I have a 5 year old twitter account with two messages or tweets I guess. When I poop I play games or read the internet on my Tablet or Cell phone, am I nuts :}

Re:Or noise, just don't like the quiet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219391)

Hate to break the news to you, you just admitted your a lunatic to these quack psychologists. Go read the DSM-IV, ADHD is a mental disease according to their exploited quack science.

The next question is why do you have ADHD?

Geo Engineering?
Fluoride int the Water?
GMO food everywhere?
Constant barrage of propaganda keeping you from seeing the big picture.

lets clarify, I don't think your a lunatic, I think your a victim that these vampires prey on.

So anyone that (1)

ewhenn (647989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219107)

So most people that watch say... a music video... are depressed or anxious?

Sounds legit.

thats right, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219155)

the more informations you receive, the more you are depressed. i call it the "bad news-syndrome". for example: if you see a lot of stuff from all around the world, wich comes unfiltered to your mind, then you are in a situation wich is difficult to handle for your brain. because your brain will construct links between random stuff, wich, in fact, has nothing to do withit. what means that you will think that you life in a world of conspiracys. look at the suicide rate of so called "hackers" and people, who are intelligent and well informated about the things that are going on in the world. a lot of them are depressed or paranoid. latest example: McAfee.
and i now what i am talking about, i experienced it on myself while i had trouble with the police and the government. i didn't left my house without phone-jamers and stuff. and YES, i had a good reason to be paranoid, but you have to keep a distance between yourself and the shit wich is going on. otherwise you are in danger to be trapped in a microcosmos, where it is hard to find an exit from.
excuse my bad englisch, i'm german, but i hope you know what i want to say.

I'm just glad... (1)

Lab Rat Jason (2495638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219169)

...that they've admitted they don't know the direction of causation. Usually stories like these breathlessly report that all our lives are in terrible danger because of some link that they can't be bothered to detail in the story, but rather it should be taken for granted that the researchers have some knowledge about the correlation that they failed to mention in their report... ad nauseum. Dare I say it: - put a mark in the column for "correlation != causation" -

This must be fake! (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219175)

"'While that question will not be easy to answer, it is worth pursing because the practical implications of the findings depend on the causal direction,' he said."

This must be fake! Or at least it is the first time I hear a psychologist speaking of causal directions. Is sound like a good study just because of that caveat.

There may be progress in this world!

Re:This must be fake! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219389)

Is this a joke, or do you just not ever read actual scientific discourse (of psychologists)?

scientific discourse of psychologists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219757)

Which of the scientific discourses of psychologists did you mean?

The one I referred to was that of Sigmund Fraud and his merry gnomes.

meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219177)

thinking about the world depresses me in general, and every time i hear about a new reality tv show my faith in humanity drops. i like having a good movie to distract me, but i'm scatter brained and prob already seen the movie, so i'll read, sort mp3s, etc, given each only partial attention but that's just me...

I could understand... (1)

michael_rendier (2601249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219179)

Seeing so much information at once and in such a state of spin these days, i could see this leading to more anxiety. I'm also willing to bet that people who use multiple sources of media spend sometimes inordinately long amounts of time on them. We've seen what fury the current propaganda machines can whip up over the last year alone...so it's no surprise really. It's exactly why i can't watch TV anymore...because it just really pisses me off to no end...i can read it on the net...where i can pick and choose my news with no serious considerations, but watching what passes for news really gets to me these days...along with how many people are either believing it outright, or by proxy, by giving it a legitimate discussion. Then there is Social Media...take facebook for example...people go on there to tell the world and show them all how wonderful their lives are...but in actuality these days is easily comparable to talking to an empty room...and with so many people 'fishing' for activity on social media to help them define who they are, when there isn't much interest in anything that they post...over time, that can get to a person with insecurities of one thing or another...then try to put the two together...I've had to take many friends out of my feed over the last election...because i couldn't stand watching otherwise intelligent people be so consumed with such drivel as if it were all true...reciting the talking points as if they were real and had actual meaning...the only thing it's showing me is how much underlying stupidity, selfishness and bigotry that still runs rampant in our 'modern society'...

TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219185)

No wonder TV news is so depressing.

As we all lnow: Correlation... (1)

rizole (666389) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219191)

...is not an excuse to trot out lazy memes.

My thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219193)

depressed and socially anxious people start media multi-tasking as a distraction. anyone who performs media multi-tasking is bound to make some eSocial blunders, which can lead to depression and social anxiety.

Hrm. (1)

Westwood0720 (2688917) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219235)

PC1, Monitor 1: EVE Online

PC1, Monitor 2: Rock n' Rolla

PC2, Monitor 1: Guild Wars 2

PC2, Monitor 2: Chrome

I must be really depressed. :(

Re:Hrm. (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219357)

No, but you're probably one of the bot-aspiring AFK miners.

Re:Hrm. (1)

Westwood0720 (2688917) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219455)

No, but you're probably one of the bot-aspiring AFK miners.

Mining and Hauling. Not one macro. All legit. I actually do a lot of exploration as well. =]

Amateur Hour (3)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219277)

I'd say this is pseudoscience but...I'm trying not to feed my inner troll...

This is definitely shoddy science work. Their definition of 'media' is one of many examples...

I've researched media usage, media usefulness, geospatial correlations, etc. in an academic setting and the definition this study uses for 'media' is...depressingly narrow.

'media' is a book, billboard...anything that has symbols. Usually researchers narrow the language to 'digital media'...but that requires a more refined, less salacious theory...which doesn't get headlines.

Don't even get me started on how research studies like this use the word 'multitasking'

Look, IAAS and this research is garbage...move along...

psychology is Quack Science beware the DSM!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219317)

These quacks push this shit to frame your ass as a fucking lunatic. Then you lose more constitutional rights.
If the oath breakers stopped shoving all these fucking unconstitutional laws out every two hours we wouldn't be so righteously (your fucking us with your batshit bullshit) fucking pissed off. We wouldn't be uncertain about the future. The problem is the elite have set themselves up to manage a bunch of compartmentalized shit so deep, they can't function anymore. When the monetary system pops this punk ass psychiatrist's BS will be reduced to hot air.

FUCK THE DOMESTIC TERRORISTS (called psychiatrists) EXPLOITING THE DSM

Re:psychology is Quack Science beware the DSM!! (1)

sinij (911942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219369)

Not to generalize or detract from the spirit of your message, but reading your post lead me to believe that the diagnosis may be accurate in your case.

Re:psychology is Quack Science beware the DSM!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219737)

Scientists have shown that once your blood pressure hits a certain level, you are unable to think clearly.

It's the other way round (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219361)

Trying time and again to find anything worthwhile and only finding boring, meaningless drivel instead of content, but keeping trying in the vain hope to get something sensible after some digging, that's what makes me anxious and depressed.

Why not both? (1)

znanue (2782675) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219451)

Negative feedback loop?

Re:Why not both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42220345)

Don't use terms you don't understand.
Then it'd be a POSITIVE feedback loop.
X causes Y; Y causes more X -> positive feedback, runs away.
X causes Y; Y causes less X -> negative feedback, finds a stable equilibrium.

True fact (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219513)

Slashdot depresses me. So does CNN, Redit... It's like a trifecta of misery. I try to keep Pandora open to cheer me up but then it decides to play me a Metallica song and I'm right back to being miserable.

Re:True fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42220497)

Slashdot depresses me. So does CNN, Redit... It's like a trifecta of misery. I try to keep Pandora open to cheer me up but then it decides to play me a Metallica song and I'm right back to being miserable.

Humanity depresses me too.

A few words of caution (3, Insightful)

meetpi (2776369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219577)

Given that I can't afford to pay the publisher's ludicrous $51 for 24 hours access to this paper, I have to glean information about the study from the abstract and summaries.

This study is, at best, a preliminary study. The researchers use a small sample size which they generalise to a large population (they sample 319 people) and they are not using a random sample (they used college undergrads, presumably self-selected). So, basically, what this tells us is that there is some correlation between certain kinds of media use behaviours with *possibly* depressed/anxious undergraduates at Michigan State. It is highly inaccurate statistically speaking to generalise these results to the general population. At best, this study might suggest that there is phenomena here that is worthy of further examination by a proper study.

I'm not criticising the researchers: preliminary studies like this are the first step to getting funding for a more robust study, and they're not claiming anything earth-shattering or being sensationalist. But /. readers need to be aware that this is preliminary research, and does not mean what the headline suggests it does. A better headline would be something like "Preliminary research suggests there may be value in studying the relationship between multiple media use and depression"

On a related note, I wish psychologists would stop using students as guinea pigs and then publishing papers on the results. We already know waaay too much about college undergraduates.

Re:A few words of caution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219621)

But college undergrads are cheap, and self-select as study participants when they need beer money or rent.

Re:A few words of caution (1)

kid-noodle (669957) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219875)

The preprint [msu.edu] is available, but is still pretty goddamn short.

Re:A few words of caution (1)

martas (1439879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42220427)

I wish psychologists would stop using students as guinea pigs and then publishing papers on the results. We already know waaay too much about college undergraduates.

Unfortunately that's often the only way to start investigating something, since undergraduate subjects come either cheap or free (lower level psychology courses in my university had a research participation requirement, I imagine the same goes for many other universities).

That Is a Real Bummer, Man. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42219897)

This story is such a freaking bummer.

It makes me so sad I'm opening tabs like a porn storm.

Mmm. Porn.

lol (1)

grenadeh (2734161) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219903)

That's pretty much ridiculous. So you're attempting to lead to a scientific label on all people born since 1980 as social anxiety ridden neckbeards. I would think the fact that people multi-media-multi-task now is a sign that we can actually handle more things at a time.

third variable? (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | about a year and a half ago | (#42219967)

How about this: people that exhibit a high level of multi-tasking have a higher probability of being bored easily. People that are bored easily have a higher probability of being depressed.

Flawed causal reasoning (1)

wjwlsn (94460) | about a year and a half ago | (#42220019)

The summary, and the linked article for that matter, both imply that there must be an arrow of causality between A (depression, anxiety) and B (multiple media input seeking). Does A cause B, or B cause A? However, that's a flawed view of this situation.

The old adage that "correlation is not causation" is apt here... correlation does not prove a direct causal link. What correlation does do, however, is suggest the possibility of a causal relationship, whether direct, indirect, or parallel.

The real answer could be that some other factor C (or combination of factors) causes *both* A and B. This is the interpretation that seems most logical to me, but of course, I have no proof.

Anyway, my suspicion is that nerds like to overload on input, and that nerds are also more susceptible to depression/anxiety. That's how I know that I am a nerd. :)

Re:Flawed causal reasoning (1)

snadrus (930168) | about a year and a half ago | (#42220279)

My thoughts exactly. Anyone think that a stressful life that forces you try multi-task to try to catch-up may cause the depression?
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