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Multitasking: Opportunity or Weakness?

Giovanni Cucci, SJ - La Civiltà Cattolica - Thu, Nov 24th 2022

A significant feature of contemporary culture is the wealth of opportunity available to us, not least due to the increasing speed and power of technology. A term often used in this sphere is multitasking, which symbolically expresses both a mentality and an ideal: the possibility of carrying out concurrently an ever greater number of tasks, commitments and relationships. This is a wonderful possibility that was unthinkable until a few decades ago.

The multiple opportunities of multitasking

Examples to illustrate multitasking abound, to the extent that it is difficult to specify them in all possible aspects because they have become part of our everyday life. From the comfort of our own homes, we can perform a multiplicity of operations simultaneously; purchases of all types while managing work schedules and carrying out research; reading for pleasure while receiving news in real time; maintaining contact with friends; posting announcements and writing messages; attending lessons and even participating in conferences. All of this was unthinkable before the advent of the internet.

Let us consider the convenience and inexpensiveness of platforms like WhatsApp, Facetime, Viber and other messaging applications. They let us stay in touch with family and friends and maintain relationships in ways that were not previously possible, not to mention the potential to offer and receive precious help from apparent strangers.[1] Another important aspect is the extraordinary wealth of information that can be accessed when performing a search of any kind. The data made available to us by search engines could not be physically viewed with traditional tools.

With a smartphone we can listen to music, take photographs, shoot videos and exchange messages with people all over the world. Complex operations can be carried out and accessed almost instantaneously; for example, financial transactions, traffic information, weather forecasts, location of a restaurant, a bookstore, a cinema.[2] And last but not least, we can go on a virtual journey through time to visit an ancient city that has been reconstructed to perfection in all its details.

While risking to state the obvious, the examples could be multiplied ad infinitum. It is in our human nature that we tend to operate on several fronts simultaneously: the digital revolution has amplified these aspects, allowing access to multiple realities. The result is an “augmented mind,” to quote the title of an essay by Marc Prensky.[3]

Yet, research demonstrates that all this is just one aspect of a “paradigm shift.” The “augmented mind” also has increased costs. The end result is parity, in a similar way to what has happened for previous technological discoveries.[4] The speed, the practicality and the possibility to easily perform multiple operations also presents “losses” of another kind. It is good to be aware of them.

Speed ??and learning: an incompatible binomial

As with every opportunity, multitasking permits us to better convey each possibility through an optimal use of it. When multitasking starts to become the criterion of an exclusive approach, it reveals itself to be psychologically frustrating, intellectually wasteful and practically unproductive. Our intellectual abilities and the profoundness with which we approach things lose out in terms of quality in direct proportion to the number of fronts we commit to. Consequently, we risk doing many things at the same time badly, just like in an offline hyperactive life.

Connection speeds and the immense number of files available make it more difficult to maintain attention and concentration, and consequently require greater effort to preserve the capacity to assimilate and express what we are thinking.

Learning processes rely on a delicate balance between the amount of information available and the limits of human memory, which in recent decades, unlike computer science, has remained substantially the same; actually, the massive bombardment of information would, according to some, lead to our progressive atrophization: “The short-term memory of an individual can remember at most seven concepts at a time. Our minds have a maximum processing capacity estimated at around 126 bits per second.”[5] Being simultaneously engaged on several fronts makes the depth and the effective duration of the work undertaken more difficult.

When we call someone while they are busy doing something else, we quickly realize that their attention to what is being said is superficial: apparently they are following the conversation, but it is clearly apparent that we are “losing” them. Authentic listening – different from hearing – requires attention, concentration, awareness.

The brain too is a muscle, albeit of a special kind, and keeping it alive and healthy requires training, through challenging it to do difficult and demanding tasks and activities. Superficiality and immediacy make it lazy and make it go numb, to the point of making it incapable of keeping up. It is symptomatic that, when trying to retrace a whole day spent surfing the web, to our minds no significant memories emerge, and we find ourselves with vague and undifferentiated impressions: “The ‘digital colonialists’ claim that digital natives are already capable of multitasking, but this is a falsehood. Our brain is able to do only one thing at a time in a conscious and fruitful way. Passing frequently from one task to another is a poor investment in terms of intellectual yield.”[6]

In fact, multitaskers experience more difficulty moving from one activity to another – which should instead be their specialty – because they lack the aforementioned abilities of recollection, concentration and absence of distractions.[7]

The social and educational cost of multitasking

Two authors who could not be accused of bias when it comes to the web are John Palfrey and Urs Gasser. In their investigation they show five reasons why the current generation is much more exposed than previous ones to the risk of saturation: 1) the rapid and abundant modes of transmission, typical of new technologies; 2) the growing number of people involved at any one time; 3) the increased complexity of the work to be carried out and an increase in the speed with which it is completed; 4) the difficulty of establishing the value of the information received, due to the sheer amount of data and time required to process it; 5) the limited competence and experience of young people (and others) to critically evaluate what they come into contact with.[8]

In addition, the personal testimonies collated on this point show a general tendency to dispersion, which ends up becoming the only “stable” aspect of one’s day[9]:

– “Every second I spend online I’m multitasking. Right now I’m watching television, every couple of minutes I check my emails, I read the news, download music onto a CD and write this message” (17-year-old boy).

– “I’m bored when everything does not happen at the same time, because there are too many pauses. We need to wait for a web page to open or an advertisement on television to end” (17-year-old boy).

– “I usually do my homework before I leave school. Otherwise I place a book on my lap and, while I turn on the computer, I do my math homework or write an essay. While I download my emails I do the other tasks, so I can do everything” (14-year-old boy).

– “The books remain closed in the schoolbag, while the laptop is always open on the desk. On the screen there’s a History, English or Physics document. It hides my Facebook or iTunes. Meanwhile, with headphones I listen to a podcast and sometimes, to focus even more, I watch a video on YouTube” (mother of a girl of 15 years).

Moreover, if their relationships are limited to social networks, young people do not bond with each other, which illustrates an increasingly widespread phenomenon that Turkle has called “together but alone.”[10] Prolonged periods spent surfing the web during childhood and early adolescence tend to confine young people to their room and comes between them and game playing, relationships, outdoor activities, to the detriment not only of their physical health, but in general of an ability to “venture forth” and to express their own physical dimension.

A research project carried out in the USA noted that “today’s children spend only 15-25 minutes a day doing outdoor games, and this figure continues to decline. There has been a 20 percent drop in per capita visits to national parks since 1988, and an 18-25 percent decline in recreational activities in contact with nature since 1981. At the same time, 80 percent of pre-school aged children are computer users (USDE, 2005) and the 8-18 age group now spends more than seven and a half hours a day using one or more types of media (TV, mobile phones, computers) … Our findings show that we can achieve a cognitive advantage if we spend time immersed in a natural environment.”[11]

Nonetheless, the trend toward multitasking appears to be increasingly widespread at all ages, with serious repercussions in the school and workplace environment. In an open letter to Apple dated January 6, 2018, Jana Partners LLC (a company specializing in event-driven investing) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (the government body offering retirement assistance to teachers in California), holders of about US$ 2 billion in Apple shares, report data from a survey of the Center on Media and Child Health and Alberta University, involving 2,300 middle and high school teachers. In particular:

– In the course of 3-5 years since the advent of digital technologies in the classroom, most of the teachers (67 percent) were worried about the increasing inability of their students (75 percent) to successfully perform an assigned task.

– Ninety percent of teachers reported an increasing trend among their students (86 percent) of issues related to the management of emotions due to the use of the numerous windows opened by social networks. The letter also referred to the essay by J. M. Twenge on the increase in depression and suicide risks (35 percent) of those who spend an average of three hours a day on electronic devices compared to those who spend one hour. When the average is five hours, the percentage rises to 71 percent.[12]

– Over the course of 3-5 years, multitasking has had major negative effects on even the most basic activities, such as leisure and food. The situation can be summarized with the words of one middle school teacher: “Before, I saw young people going out at lunchtime and engaged in physical activities and socialization. Today, many of our students sit down at break-time and play with their personal devices.” Added to this there are serious health consequences such as insomnia, obesity, scoliosis and diabetes.[13]

The paralysis of decision making

It is widely known that the abundance of supply is inversely proportional to the probability of choice. From research carried out on the sales of products at food stalls, Wilson and Schooler noted that, when six types of jam were on display, 30 percent of people who stopped to view them at the counter bought at least one; when four times as many were on show (24), sales fell to 3 percent.[14]

This situation also occurs with important life choices. In the great bazaar of available possibilities, it is paradoxically the ability to decide that is penalized, being reduced to a spur-of-the-moment “tasting” of multiple and contrasting proposals, or a wandering from one place to another like nomads. In this way one remains uncertain about a choice and it remains just a theoretical possibility.

Italy seems to hold, among other things, the sad European record (2.3 million in 2016) of young NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) who are not studying, not working and not seeking any job. In addition to widespread precariousness due to the economic crisis, there is underlying this situation also a situation of efforts started: studies that have been interrupted or completed in parallel with other things, undertaken without any real conviction or willingness to be completely dedicated. The final result is “a bumpy course of studies with failures and interruptions, a low level of self-esteem and a heavy dependency on the family,” who are reassuring, but also imprisoning.[15]

Thereby, a high percentage of the young people in question are unable to bring to conclusion anything they set out to achieve. This same impasse is evident even with the recreational activities of these young people, such as sport: “Inside the extensive digital tribe we find various figures: the fitness mystic, the football fan, the athletic club member who is convinced they can become a champion, the ultra-fanatical supporter […]. To finance their courses, activities and tournaments, the NEET draws on their parents for pocket money (as it is still called in the time of Facebook) and end up prolonging their adolescence.”[16]

On a religious level

Multitasking makes it particularly difficult for the goodness of a single definitive vocational choice to be appreciated, which leads to significant repercussions on how a person designs their own future.

A research project involving about 1,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 29 noted an increasingly widespread stagnant vocational predicament, similar to the one demonstrated above with the NEETs. Among the obstacles to decision making, the main reason (76 percent) is the belief that “in life it is always better to keep many options open.”[17]

The participants in the study consider highly those who have had the courage to leave everything behind to take up a demanding vocation, especially if it involves contact with the poor or the marginalized (65 percent), or to announce the Gospel in a missionary land (70 percent). It is significant, however, that many respondents also pointed out that service is not exclusive to a religious choice, but that it can also be carried out by anyone (57 percent): all roads are equivalent in the end. Hence, the conclusion of the researchers: “Therefore, it seems that to follow a religious vocation fully, in the eyes of the those questioned, is a particularly difficult choice to make, not only because of the incurrence of notable renunciations, but also because it can be replaced by other forms of commitment and intervention in society.”[18]

Once again, the possible options that multiplicity presents risk becoming more of an obstacle than an opportunity when it comes to the choosing of something that is considered worthy and desirable in itself, and consequently capable of channeling a person’s resources and giving satisfaction and meaning to existence: “The effort required to choose one’s own vocation is comparable to the discomfort of living within a society markedly characterized by uncertainty. When there are many roads to choose from, the individual does not know how to extricate themselves and decide.”[19]

The hidden danger in attempting to be playing the game of life on several gaming tables simultaneously was touched upon in a document drawn up about 20 years ago by the European bishops. The timely analysis in that text identified precisely that the excess of possibilities available was one of the most serious obstacles both for those when making a possible vocational choice, and more generally how it undermines the capacity to plan in life. The bishops read the vocational theme as a problem first of all for intelligence, for its capacity to recognize and differentiate possible experiences by placing them on a differential scale.

This hurdle to planning reflects an important intellectual shortcoming: the peculiar ability of the intelligence to read within (intus-legere), to discern between what is essential and what is secondary. This, for the European bishops, has serious consequences on the possible elaboration of a lifestyle: “When a culture, in fact, no longer defines the supreme possibilities of meaning, or fails to create convergence around certain values ??such as those particularly capable of giving meaning to life, but puts everything on the same level, every possible project choice falls and everything becomes indistinguishable and one-dimensional … It makes for immense sadness to meet intelligent and gifted young people, in whom the desire to live, to believe in something, to strive towards big goals, to hope for a world that can become better thanks to their efforts seems to be extinguished … Without a vocation, but also without a future, or with a future which, at most, will be a photocopy of the present.”[20]

The inability to recognize what is worth striving for compared to what is of secondary importance leads to a sort of cultural anarchy, leaving the young person without reference points. All this generates a sense of precariousness that becomes dangerously destabilizing, since to go through this is essential so as to experience stability, meaning and “a faith in order.”[21] This uncertainty is perpetuated throughout the stages of growth, and tends to keep the person in a sort of prolonged adolescence. And so young people are denied their dreams and have to be content with expedients, without ever participating in the adventure of life.

Mindfulness tames multitasking

Notwithstanding these problems, the advantages and great wealth of possibilities that multitasking presents cannot be negated. In fact, these pluses confirm the fascination that it exerts on an increasing number of people in terms of their relationships with others, access to information, activities and places of presence. Multitasking is fascinating, yet at the same time it represents a point of no return in our way of thinking and how we organize our life. Also on this subject the truth is probably to be found somewhere between, not as mediocrity or as compromise, but as a balance between extremes (which for the ancients was the characteristic of virtue), by recognizing the value of both, and also a corrective they can apply to each other in this complex and fascinating theme.

Among the many viable solutions, given the complexity of the theme, there is one which I would like to mention in particular, in view of achieving an ideal balance. Roger Silverstone spoke about the need to “tame” the new discoveries so that they can remain in our service, not the other way around. It is not an easy undertaking, because it involves “a struggle for meaning and control: in planning, development, distribution and use… The media connect us and at the same time come between us, include and at the same time exclude, give freedom of expression and claim rights for surveillance and control, allow and prevent, create new inequalities as much as they try to eliminate the old.”[22]

In each new situation, something is gained and something else is lost: explaining these aspects is also an essential point for this theme. It is the path of awareness, an ancient way that recently came back in vogue about multitasking. It is known by the term mindfulness. This is the ability to accept and speak of thoughts and affections when we are about to occupy multiple roles and tasks, asking ourselves the classic question: Do I want it? And if I do not want it (or I would like to live it differently), am I able to regain control of my thoughts, emotions and decisions which have given rise to the automatism that lead to addiction?

“Mindful awareness actually implies more than just being aware: it involves being aware of aspects of the mind. Instead of living in an automatic and superficial (mindless) way, mindfulness makes us aware, and by reflecting on the mind we have the possibility of making choices, which is why it becomes possible to change.”[23]

Being aware implies the ability to stop, and is the result of exercise, of training, for it is never a spontaneous or automatic thing – as opposed to addiction. This is why it requires effort, the “struggle” that Silverstone spoke about.

An author who is certainly not ignorant of the digital realm, Howard Rheingold, when addressing his students at the beginning of a course, insisted on the training to listen and to make the decision to turn on or off any instrument in a slow, deliberate and conscious way: “I discovered that introducing a minimum of attention where it was completely absent can be a dangerously definitive gesture. Asking students to become aware of their laptop use in class is like asking them not to think about a purple dinosaur.”[24]

Attention to the body

The mindfulness exercise allows us to dismantle certain harmful positions and to enhance others that at first sight may seem trivial, such as breathing, a basic activity for self-knowledge. Whoever has fallen into the trap of automatism will understand this. This is the case, for example, of Linda Stone, who with amazement feels that, when she opens her email, she tends to hold her breath, regardless of its content. She defines this attitude apnea by email: “Breath is the regulator of attention… A rhythm of regular breathing causes the parasympathetic nervous system to allow for relaxation, the releasing of digestive enzymes and a sense of satiety, signs of a ‘resting and digesting’ modality.”[25] Holding your breath, instead, involves a continuous stressful tension that weakens the ability to concentrate.

Attention to the breath allows us to take back control of what we intend to do, here and now; it is a fundamental meeting point between automatism and awareness: “A breath can also be intentional… We come to the border between the automatic and the intentional, between body and mind.”[26]

Another essential exercise is the ability to pause, to take desired breaks, even for a short time, so as to break from harmful automatism with small precautions; for example, a schedule, a sheet of paper to keep in view, an alarm clock that refers to this task. In this way you are able to perform your work better and be more focused.

To have the courage to take a break and go for a walk is essential for creativity and productivity: “It is possible to maintain high levels of attention over a prolonged period of time by introducing short, relatively rare and controlled breaks… The drop in concentration is not related to the lack of attention, but to a lack of control of our thoughts. Fortunately, it is surprisingly easy to prevent loss of control.”[27]

Physical activity is essential to carrying out of tasks more effectively, and it should not be sacrificed, especially in the age of major development. Taking a break helps to slow down, to relax, to “haunt the ghosts” of the mind and to gain awareness and freedom. Practicing awareness thus helps to dismantle some false beliefs, which are often the heart of the problem. One of the most insidious is to think that separating ourselves momentarily from our own activities is a waste of time; in fact, experience illustrates exactly the opposite, for breaks away stimulate creativity, make us aware that we are working, and that therefore it is necessary to take the task to be performed seriously. Instead, moving from one website to another suggests the idea that being connected always means being at work, which is not only false, but also dangerously illusory. In this way digressions are not relaxing, but are simply distracting.

The perennial relevance of the spiritual life

The state of mindfulness evokes a truth that is familiar to the spiritual tradition: awareness, understood as “being present in the present”; an ability to recognize what is good in the here and now, which is psychologically analogous to the evangelical virtue of “vigilance.” In this context, vigilance can be understood as the “custody” of thought, of the gaze, of the word, which leads to it being translated into coherent action.

This theme is extremely vast and complex, so here I will limit myself to a brief reference to what is specific to this contribution. In the Spiritual Exercises (SE), Ignatius of Loyola presents a form of oration (the “third way of praying”) based on attention to breathing and the beating of the heart as contact with the truth of oneself and the mystery of God (SE 258). This practice has also been studied in neuroscience. It seems that brain activity, during meditation, releases alpha waves that are linked to the one’s own awareness, activity, surrounding environment and cerebral activity.[28]

The interdisciplinary study of these issues thus disproves another cliche: to consider prayer a waste of time, or an escape from the problems of ordinary life. Awareness and spirituality – understood, as we said, as “vigilance” – are instead very close to each other. Those who stop and learn to listen to each other, to be silent in front of a greater presence, find their own authentic and profound dimension, also from an intellectual, relational and professional point of view.[29]

In addition, this “being present in the present” has many traits in common with the ancient practice of the examen of conscience. This exercise consists in the retracing what has happened during each day with gratitude. As an end-of-day activity, the examen is of considerable help for the recognition and eradication of bad habits and hence brings about personal transformation,[30] while also recognizing which were the favorable moments upon which to make life’s fundamental decisions.

It is striking how certain biblical vocation stories see the calling of a person while they are engaged in a variety of other activities. This is the case, for example, of the first disciples in the Gospel of Mark (1:16-20, which recalls 1 Kings 19:19-21): the story insists on certain basic daily bodily activities, “going, seeing, speaking, hearing, coming, the elementary functions of human behavior … The calling catches them during their daily work, it catches them together.”[31]

Multiple activities are not an obstacle to the One-who-calls, when he encounters a heart that is docile to his call and gaze. The joy of finding the unexpected treasure (cf. Matt 13: 44-46) makes possible what appears to be humanly impossible: to leave everything for the kingdom of heaven is the condition to following the Lord of life.

To help recognize what matters, Ignatius of Loyola placed a decisive annotation in the second paragraph of the Spiritual Exercises: “What fills and satisfies the soul consists, not in knowing much, but in our understanding the realities profoundly and in savoring them interiorly” (SE 2). In order to combat the negative aspects of multitasking and employ the opportunities offered by new technologies to their fullest, it is essential to rediscover the value of thoughtfulness, of silence, of desire.[32] These are essential conditions for us to come to know ourselves and highlight what we hold dear, to make our lives worth living.

[1].Cf. G. Cucci, Altruismo e gratuità. I due polmoni della vita, Assisi (PG), Cittadella, 2015, 130-134.

[2].Cf. S. Murphy, “E-filing becomes the new normal,” in Tech News Daily, March 26, 2011.

[3].“Today humans, wherever they are and in whichever way they are supported by the latest technologies, can do more things, think faster, plan better, analyze deeper, solve more complex problems, make better decisions and even know their bodies deeper than they have ever done so before” (M. Prensky, La mente aumentata. Dai nativi digitali alla saggezza digitale, Trento, Erickson, 2013, 19).

[4].Cf. G. Cucci, Paradiso virtuale o Rischi e opportunità della rivoluzione digitale, Milan, Àncora – La Civiltà Cattolica, 2015, 16-24.

[5].J. Palfrey – U. Gasser, Nati con la rete. La prima generazione cresciuta su Internet. Istruzioni per l’uso, Milan, Rizzoli, 2009, 257. Cf. G. A. Miller, “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information,” in The Psychological Review 63 (1956) 81-97.

[6].R. Zanini, “‘Tablet a scuola? Andateci piano.’ Intervista a Roberto Casati,” in Avvenire, June 14, 2013.

[7].Cf. E. Ophir – C. Nass – A. Wagner, “Cognitive Control in Media Multitaskers,” in PNAS (2009) vol. 106, no. 37, 15583-15587.

[8].Cf. J. Palfrey – U. Gasser, Nati con la rete…, quoted above, 266 and following.

[9].Cf. M. Spitzer, Demenza digitale. Come la nuova tecnologia ci rende stupidi, Milan, Corbaccio, 2013, 195; cf. V. Rideout – E. Hamel, “The Media Family: Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers and Their Parents,” Menlo Park (CA), Kaiser Family Foundation, 2006, in

[10].S. Turkle, Insieme ma soli. Perché ci aspettiamo sempre più dalla tecnologia e sempre meno dagli altri, Turin, Codice, 2012.

[11].R. Atchley – D. Strayer – P. Atchley, “Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings,” in Plos One (2012) 7 (12); F. T. Juster – F. P. Stafford – H. Ono, Changing Times of American Youth:
1981–2003, Ann Arbor (Mi), University of Michigan, in

[12].J. M. Twenge, iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood and What That Means for the Rest of Us, New York, Atria Books, 2017, Open Letter From Jana Partners And Calstrs To Apple Inc.,

[13].Cf. Growing Up Digital Alberta, in

[14].Cf. T. Wilson – J. Schooler, “Thinking too much: introspection can reduce the quality of preferences and decisions,” in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 60 (1991) 181-192.

[15].“Coming from a family of good social background does not necessarily seem to guarantee easier access to the world of work. Quite the opposite! Young people from families of higher social status seem to be more inclined to passive inactivity, so they remain in the inactive condition without worrying too much about looking for a job” (A. Ancora, “Nel girone dei Neet,” in S. Alfieri – E. Sironi [EDS], Una generazione in panchina. Da Neet a risorsa per il paese, Milan, Vita e Pensiero, 2017, 170).

[16].D. Di Vico, “Quelli che per le statistiche non lavorano e non studiano,” in Corriere della Sera, July 10, 2016.

[17].L. Berzano – C. Genova, “Vocazioni tra rinuncia e autorealizzazione,” in Rivista di Scienze dell’Educazione 45 (2007) 50; cf. S. Palmisano, “Dio chiama: Chi risponde? Riflessioni sulla vocazione religiosa,” in F. Garelli (ed.), Chiamati a scegliere, Cinisello Balsamo (MI), San Paolo, 2006, 83-103.

[18].Ibid., 51.

[19].Ibid., 41

[20].Pontifical Work for Ecclesiastical Vocations, New Vocations for a New Europe (1998), no. 11 a. c.

[21].P. Berger, Il brusio degli angeli, Bologna, il Mulino, 1969, 92.

[22].R. Silverstone, Perché studiare i media?, Bologna, il Mulino, 2002, 226 and following. For a more in-depth study of the topic at the scholastic and relational level, cf. G. Cucci, Internet e cultura, Milan, Àncora – La Civiltà Cattolica, 2016.

[23].D. J. Siegel, Mindfulness e cervello, Milan, Cortina, 2009, 13.

[24].H. Rheingold, Perché la rete ci rende intelligenti, Milan, Cortina, 2013, 54.

[25].L. Stone, “Just breathe: Building the case for Email Apnea,” in Huffington Post, February 8, 2008.

[26].D. J. Siegel, Mindfulness e cervello, op. cit., 169; cf. D. Rock, Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long, New York, Harper Business, 2009.

[27].A. Ariga – A. Lleras, “Brief and rare mental ‘breaks’ keep you focused: deactivation and reactivation of task goals preempt vigilance decrements,” in Cognition 118 (2011) 439-443, here 443.

[28].Cf. G. Wolf, “What it is, is up to us,” in Reed Magazine, February 2002, 10-13; L. Fehmi – J. Robbins, The Open-Focus Brain: Harnessing the Power of Attention to Heal Mind and Body, New York, Trumpeter, 2007.

[29].Cf. O. Pergams – P. Zaradic, “Evidence for a fundamental and pervasive shift away from nature-based recreation,” in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, no. 105, 2008, 2295–2300.

[30].Cf. G. Cucci, “Conoscenza di sé e conoscenza di Dio,” in Civ. Catt. 2011 II 282-288.

[31].J. Gnilka, Marco, Assisi (PG), Cittadella, 1987, 85f.

[32].Cf. G. Cucci, “Il desiderio, motore della vita,” in Civ. Catt. 2010 I 568-578.

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