Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Washington Post: The Problems with Multitasking

Multitasking is actually kind of a problem — for kids and adults by Hayley Tsukayama.


But Michael Robb, the group’s director of research, said multitasking should no longer be seen as “some desirable trait that makes you the best 21st-century worker.”

Multitasking is a problem in a couple of ways, Robb said, citing recent neuroscience research on the practice. “Many people think multitasking does not hamper your ability to get things done,” he said. “But multitasking can decrease your ability to get things done well, because you have to reorient. That causes a certain level of cognitive fatigue, which can slow the rate of work.”

After all, you never get something for nothing, and it makes sense that splitting your focus wouldn't be great for improving your productivity.

“You’re not encoding memories in the way you should be” when multitasking, Robb said. “If I’m browsing on Facebook while a lecturer is talking, I’m not forming memories that I need to retrieve later."

"Heavy media multitaskers had a harder time filtering out irrelevant information. In other words, they may have developed a habit of treating all information they came across with equal attention instead of allotting steady attention to a particular task."

But looking at what's out there, there seems to be some strong suggestion that while all this multitasking is helping us feel productive, it's not actually letting us be that productive.

(Scott Fruehwald)

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