Commercial breaks may be good for the brain

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Talk about turning a notion on its head. What if your coveted winter vacation—the time when you leave the bitter, snowy cold behind and head for a few days of palm trees—could actually add to your winter blues? New research in psychology shows that interruptions from things we dislike may make us detest them all the more, whereas interruptions from doing something we really adore say, watching an episode of Friday Night Lights may highlight our appreciation. Benedict Carey, a science reporter from the New York Times, joins The Takeaway to explain.

Read his story on the dreaded commercial break Liked the Show? Maybe It Was the Commercials in today's New York Times.


Benedict Carey


Molly Webster

Comments [3]

Evelyn C.

A sign on the desk of a past supervisor of the mental health crisis clinic where I work: "I blamed interruptions for getting in the way of my job. Then I realized that interruptions WERE my job."

Mar. 04 2009 10:38 AM

I'm just about to finish my graduate degree and live in a house where my husband and seven year old daughter are constantly interrupting me and each other. I used to take these interruptions in my stride, but now with so little room left in my brain, they just drive me nuts! I'm just trying to slog through my endless to-do list as quickly as possible. Any interruption just prolongs the dish-washing, homework checking,nose-wiping, research paper writing, cat-feeding, floor-sweeping, "what's for dinner" answering agony.

Mar. 03 2009 06:03 PM

There are some people whose work schedule consists of a flow of interruptions: ER and EMT staff to name two. One could make the case that law enforcement personnel whose day of work is to respond to interruptions.

Mar. 03 2009 10:10 AM

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