The Distracted Mind

Ancient Brains in a High Tech World

Why our brains aren't built for media multitasking, and how we can learn to live with technology in a more balanced way.

Available now from MIT Press or Amazon and many fine bookstores.

About the Book

The Authors

Adam Gazzaley

Adam Gazzaley

Adam Gazzaley is Professor in the Departments of Neurology, Physiology, and Psychiatry at the University of Calfornia, San Francisco, where he is also Founding Director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center, Neuroscape Lab, and the Gazzaley Lab. Recipient of the 2015 Society for Neuroscience Science Educator Award, he wrote and hosted the nationally televised PBS special “The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley.”

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Larry Rosen

Larry Rosen

Larry D. Rosen is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He is a blogger for Psychology Today and the author of iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us and six other books.

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In the media

Read or listen to more about The Distracted Mind at MarketWatch ("Smartphones are distracting us to death—but we can fight back!"), hear Larry Rosen talk to the host of Air Talk on KPCC radio about what goes on in your head every time you’re interrupted by your phone, or listen to a discussion about how devices are probably eroding your productivity (and what you can do about it) on NPR. And also, A Neuroscientist And A Psychologist On How Our Ancient Brains Work In A High-Tech World - from the Diane Rehm show


“Brilliant and practical, just what we need in these techno-human times.”

—Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise Heart

“[Shows] how modern technology keeps us in thrall by exploiting neurological limitations and what that means for our relationships, our productivity, and our mental health.”

—The Boston Globe

“Overwhelming evidence for why cultivating moment-to-moment awareness of our outsized and addictive distractibility in the digital age and robust lifestyle strategies to stabilize and sustain our attention in the present moment is becoming an absolute necessity.”

—Jon Kabat-Zinn., founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR); author of Coming to Our Senses and Full Catastrophe Living

The Distracted Mind by Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen is a highly engaging read of how we cognitively pursue our goals and how our brains have to frequently overcome internal and external interference, including that from modern technologies, to do this successfully. The book includes excellent, clear examples of what these problems of goal interference are and how they might affect us in our daily lives. It is a very informative and extremely interesting read, which is strongly recommended for all those with an interest in neuroscience, psychology, and the impact of technology on society.”

—Barbara J Sahakian, Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge; coauthor of Bad Moves

“The book strikes an outstanding balance between cutting-edge scientific knowledge and practical suggestions for effectively coping with today’s unprecedented technological demands, which result in distracted minds at all ages and make us want to believe in the myth of multitasking.”

—Pat DeLeon, former President of the American Psychological Association