See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 25, Issue 1

Distractions Lower Our IQs [Excerpt]

A preoccupation with scarcity diminishes IQ and self-control. Simple measures can help us counteract this cognitive tax

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Adapted from Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir by arrangement with Time Books, and imprint of Henry Holt and Company, LLC (North America), and Allen Lane (UK). Copyright © 2013 by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir. All rights reserved.

Imagine sitting in an office located near the railroad tracks. Trains rattle by several times an hour. As you try to concentrate, the rumble of every train pulls you away from what you are doing. You need time to refocus, to collect your thoughts. Worse, just when you have settled back in, another train hurtles by.

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