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Turn down the volume!

Matthew, my friend:

Why do I have to turn down the volume on the car radio when I'm doing something like looking for a street address? It's like I can't find what I'm looking for with the radio on. But I can drive okay with the radio on. Does this make sense?

-- Confused, driving around Chula Vista

Waaa! Waaa! Waaa! Sensory overload! Distraction, distraction! Brain log-off! Memory destruct! Way too much input, Confused, and there's plenty of neurological research to explain what's going on. Noise (including organized noise like music) interferes with task performance. Sound does share some brain pathways with visual information. You instinctively reach for the volume knob to allow your head to concentrate on one thing at a time. Tunes, especially loud, bass-thumping numbers, increase stress hormones. If you're partying, being amped on adrenaline and cortisol is called "having fun." If you're late for a meeting and looking for a parking space, it's called stress. The stress also interferes with short-term memory, making it even harder to find that danged house number. You turn down the volume in sheer self-defense. Your brain thanks you.

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Matthew, my friend:

Why do I have to turn down the volume on the car radio when I'm doing something like looking for a street address? It's like I can't find what I'm looking for with the radio on. But I can drive okay with the radio on. Does this make sense?

-- Confused, driving around Chula Vista

Waaa! Waaa! Waaa! Sensory overload! Distraction, distraction! Brain log-off! Memory destruct! Way too much input, Confused, and there's plenty of neurological research to explain what's going on. Noise (including organized noise like music) interferes with task performance. Sound does share some brain pathways with visual information. You instinctively reach for the volume knob to allow your head to concentrate on one thing at a time. Tunes, especially loud, bass-thumping numbers, increase stress hormones. If you're partying, being amped on adrenaline and cortisol is called "having fun." If you're late for a meeting and looking for a parking space, it's called stress. The stress also interferes with short-term memory, making it even harder to find that danged house number. You turn down the volume in sheer self-defense. Your brain thanks you.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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