Tag Archives: Maria Konnikova

The genetics of sleep

27 Aug

Maria Konnikova has a post at The New Yorker about the genetics of sleep:

“What the researchers found was that the reaction to sleep deprivation was largely heritable: eighty per cent of the variation among peoples’ susceptibility to the cognitive effects of sleep deprivation was explained by genetics.”

Konnikova makes a good case for the importance of sleep research:

“Sleep deprivation can cause actual physical harm, like a car crash, or cause you to hit “reply all” when you don’t mean to—a crash of a different sort. It results in severe cognitive impairments: lower productivity and difficulty concentrating, memory issues, and motivational problems. It even makes you like your hobbies less. That’s not to mention the known increased health risks, like hypertension, heart disease, obesity, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and even neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s. Sleep deprivation may be one of our greatest, and often invisible, public-health threats.”

 

Better memory from reading paper books

5 Aug

If you haven’t been listening to Mike Pesca’s podcast The Gist you have been missing one of the bright spots in the podcast universe. The July 29th episode is of particular interest to Peakmemory readers.

Pesca interviews Maria Konnikova about the difference between reading text on screens or paper. The bottom line, paper wins. Our best available research suggests that, with current technology, you have better memory for material you read on paper. In her New Yorker post Konnikova writes:

“We read more efficiently when text is arranged in a single column rather than multiple columns or sections. The font, color, and size of text can all act in tandem to make our reading experience easier or more difficult. And while these variables surely exist on paper just as they do on-screen, the range of formats and layouts online is far greater than it is in print. Online, you can find yourself transitioning to entirely new layouts from moment to moment, and, each time you do so, your eyes and your reading approach need to adjust. Each adjustment, in turn, takes mental and physical energy.”

This podcast also includes an account of the recent  Amelia Bedelia imbroglio.

 

 

In his comment Pesca speculates that Bedelia might have Asperger’s syndrome.

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