Technology is great -- but people still need human contact


An unexpected outcome of computers and other technology is the loss of the "human moment." A term coined by Harvard lecturer, Edward M. Hallowell, it refers to the psychological encounter that can happen only when two people share the same physical space. The human moment is a quality of interaction that you don't get through technology, even phones.

Technology has been helpful for the most part; it makes our lives better. But difficulty occurs when the human moment is lost. Hallowell has amassed a large body of research to show that face-to-face interaction is essential for keeping our brains sharp. In order to really converse with someone, you have to keep reading their physical cues, a level of communication not available with computers. In front of a live person, our brains read visual cues every second with automatic responses from us.

In-person contact stimulates an emotional reaction, according to Hallowell. Face-to-face exchange appears to stimulate the attention and pleasure neurotransmitter dopamine, and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that reduces fear and worry. This explains why working at the computer or talking on the phone can be as exhausting as watching TV. Our brain gets fuel from human contact and gets overloaded from the torrent of data surging at us each day.