Multitasking? Not a good idea.

09Sep09

According to a Stanford study, multitaskers are not as efficient as they think they are. As a matter of fact, they are doing more harm than good.

In the August 24th issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a research article entitled “Cognitive control in media multitaskers” has shown that people who choose to do several different things all at once have the tendency to pay less attention, have bad memories, and are poor in shifting from one task to another as compared to those who are considered as ‘low multitaskers’.

The researchers, Clifford Nass , Eyal Ophir, and Anthony Wagner, wanted to find out if chronic media multitaskers had a ‘gift’ when it came to performing tasks such as answering emails, engaging in multiple instant messaging conversations, and jumping from website to website simultaneously.

They don’t.

Results have shown that high multitaskers found it difficult to filter out irrelevant information, to store and organize information in memory, and to switch from one task to another.

Research is ongoing to determine whether high multitaskers are born with the inability to concentrate and are doing harm to their cognitive control by taking in so many things at once. The researchers are convinced that high multitaskers’ minds “are not working as well as they could.”

“When they’re in situations where there are multiple sources of information coming from the external world or emerging out of memory, they’re not able to filter out what’s not relevant to their current goal,” said Wagner, an associate professor of psychology. “That failure to filter means they’re slowed down by that irrelevant information.”

More at Stanford University News. For something more in depth, read the abstract and full article at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences website.

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One Response to “Multitasking? Not a good idea.”

  1. Interesting article! 🙂 I believe in fact that with focus and concentration, one gain better results in hitting any goal one has set! Great!


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