Sometimes being too focused on a task is not a good thing. During tasks that require our attention, we might become so engrossed in what we are doing that we fail to notice there is a better way to get the job done. For example, let’s say you are coming out of a New York City subway one late afternoon and you want to find out which way is west. You might begin to scan street signs and then suddenly realize that you could just look for the setting sun.
So once my Grandmother… oh wait sorry, I was distracted while typing. As it turns out I’m not the only one. But there is hope, two Psychologists at Simon Fraser University discovered an active suppression mechanism to help you focus on what you want and avoid being distracted by irrelevant background information.
McDonald, a Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, and other scientists first found this system back in 2009. The problem is that little was understood about what they found and how it worked to help us ignore visual distractions.