He argues that the constant task-switching required when using the likes of mobile phones, email and instant messaging can lead to an effect he has called ‘Attention Deficit Trait’ or ADT.
This shares some of the same features of ADD, such as impaired concentration, restlessness and increased distraction, but seems to improve when individuals are away from the workplace.
In contrast, ADD is usually thought to be a relatively fixed condition, presumably present from birth, although not diagnosable until about 6 years of age.
As outlined in a recent Scientific American article (PDF), it is known that simple television viewing can have both short and long term effects on the mind, including impairments in basic cognitive functioning.
Cynics might suggest that the same parallels might not apply to other technology and this might be Hallowell’s attempt to make a name for himself in the lucrative world of business psychology.
It is unlikely however, that information technology is entirely neutral with regards to psychological function, although there is relatively little hard evidence to judge how positive or negative these effects might be.