chapter  3
15 Pages

Adrift

ByJonathan David Lewis

Psychologists who study attention call the ability to control behavior "executive function", which represents a suite of cognitive skills that inform our ability to focus. Executive function can be thought of as something akin to Desimone's biased competition and requires the coordination and harmony of multiple cognitive skills to consistently attain focus. The brain's ongoing struggle against endless distractions underscores the fundamental nature of focus; at its core, focus is choice. Multitasking activities can include everything from switching attention throughout the day to checking email. With each activity, the brain receives a small dose of dopamine that reinforces the action. Contrast Stefansson with Google, which states that its purpose is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". Just as Stefansson's impatience and penchant for action led to unnecessary risk and eventual ruin for the crew of the Karluk, action for action's sake in marketing can be wasteful and disastrous.