This concept is very true. It also applies to your work environment — i.e. desk, office, book shelves, noise and motion. Our brains are conditioned to look for irregularities in patterns (this how we spot prey or danger by looking for motion against a backdrop where there is none). If your desk is a mess of stuff and book shelves disordered and your office cluttered with mementos from every trade show or conference you have ever attended — your brain can not help but work over time trying to discern anomalies out of the disorder. If your desk is clean, your brain requires minimal bandwidth to sense a change. Video compression is designed along the same model — only process the changes and variations in the image not the static parts. Distracting sounds and motion around you act on your brain in the same way that clutter does, it triggers your brain’s threat radar and takes your focus off of whatever you’re trying to do I order to see and decide if the threat is really a threat and to either run, hide or ignore it. Just like the open tabs in your browser, this takes processing power from your brain and sensory system.
Maybe there is a good reason clean contemporary minimal Scandinavian design works so well for productive office space.
May we all aspire to clutter and distraction free work environments :-)