Friday, January 09, 2015

Multitasking bad for your brain

Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. People who are bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

There are people who claim to have a gift for multitasking. The research found that heavy multitaskers were actually worse at multitasking. The multitaskers had more trouble organizing their thoughts, filtering out irrelevant information, and were slower at switching tasks.

Multitasking is technically unattainable because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks well.

Research found that participants who multitasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines similar to someone who had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night. The IQ drops put them at the average range of an 8-year-old child. So when you're writing your boss an email during an intense meeting, remember that your cognitive capacity is being diminished to where you might as well let an 8-year-old write it for you.

It was believed that cognitive impairment from multitasking was temporary, but new research suggests that time spent on multiple devices (such as texting while watching TV) has long term effects on the part of the brain responsible for empathy, cognitive and emotional control.

Multitasking is not a habit you want to indulge — it clearly slows you down and decreases the quality of your work. Allowing yourself to multitask will fuel any existing difficulties you have with concentration, organization, and attention to detail.

No comments: