This Is Your Brain On…

Welcome to your brain

Welcome to Your Brain

Compliments of Guest Blogger K. Jean King

Texting and driving – dangerous right? It’s a national campaign: to become aware of the dangers of texting while driving and to end it. But here is the thing about that: texting while driving is actually impossible to do.

Let’s start with the brain, because, like everything else, that is where our problem lies. There are two types of functions the brain uses to complete any given task: the cognitive and the associative.

When the brain is engaging in an associative task, it is capable of doing many different things at once, such as listening, talking, singing show tunes, and driving.

Since driving is an associative function, we have gotten very used to being able to do other things at the same time.  We can listen to music, have a conversation, eat a burrito, have a thumb war, all without compromising the effectiveness of our driving. (You know, as far as our brain is concerned).

This is why it is possible to talk on your cell phone and drive at the same time. Talking is associative. Driving is associative. Your brain can do it.

Cognitive tasks, on the other hand, render your brain incapable of performing any other task while you are engaged with them. Cognitive tasks include things like long division, reading and writing.

As soon as we pick up our phone and begin to read a text message, our brains have become involved in a cognitive task; by nature, a cognitive task needs the entire brain to engage in it.

Therefore, if you are texting, your car might still be moving, but your brain has stopped driving it.

If you are reading a text message, you are sitting in the front seat of a two-ton tank, now speeding down the road at fifty miles an hour with no one operating it.

Texting while Driving

Two Ton Tank Driving Itself

If you are writing a text message, be aware – that is all you are now doing.

Additionally, your brain will not start controlling these things again until you stop reading or writing that text message, either because you’ve finished or because your attention has been diverted by the giant elm tree that is now where your front hood should be.

To call any task “texting while…” would be -and is- completely inaccurate. When texting, your brain can do nothing but text. You cannot text while talking. You cannot text while singing. You cannot text while rubbing your stomach and patting your head. And you certainly cannot text while at the same time driving, even though, in our cars, we are under the illusion that we are doing both.


K. Jean King has been battling a writing affliction since early childhood. She lives outside of Philadelphia with yet another dog and the rest of her family. For humor and insight by K. Jean King, please visit

2 thoughts on “This Is Your Brain On…

  1. Pingback: Newsfeed: Where I’m At | The Irrefutable Opinion

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