"The mental exhaustion of urban living."

#Science

Tue, Feb 5th, 2013 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Eric Jaffe of The Atlantic Cities, "navigating a busy sidewalk while processing loud storefronts and avoiding rogue pigeons" requires a significant amount of work for the human brain that we take for granted. According to scientists, the brain of a city dweller, therefore, only pays so much attention to what's around them in order to survive in a "high-demanding urban scenario."

A new series of behavioral studies offers some of the richest evidence to date on the mental exhaustion of urban living. In an upcoming issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, a group of British psychologists reports that people who live in cities show diminished powers of general attention compared to people from remote areas. With so much going on around them, urbanites don't pay much attention to surroundings unless they're highly engaging.

Instead, as the researchers put it, city dwellers have developed a form of attention that puts priority on "the search for potential dangers or new opportunities".

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