Prof. Tim Blackmore has learned not to get upset at the messages his students send him.
“They sound like they’re going to burn your door down,” says Blackmore, who teaches media studies at the University of Western Ontario.
“They send messages that are both lazy and in the imperative — ‘Hey, u didn’t tell me what was wrong with my paper.’
“You think, that’s some crust. But then they come into your office and they are crying. They are nice people. But their messages are surface, not about depth. They need to step back and get some context.”
Is instant messaging, texting and twittering making us mean?
This was the question swirling in the wake of a study that showed the brain needs eight seconds to register social pain or virtue and produce emotions of empathy, compassion or admiration.
Physical pain, on the other hand, says USC researcher Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, is recognized much quicker, almost instantly.
While the study — released yesterday by the National Academy of Sciences in its Online Early Edition — did not look directly at instant messaging, Immordino-Yang says a link to the study’s findings on delayed emotional reactions “is a very intriguing possibility.”