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October 09, 2014

Study: Multitasking May Make You Dumb

I believe this.

I'm sure this "study" is probably flawed, as most of them are, and it could be that its conclusions are being over-sold by the press.

Still, I believe this. I feel dumber myself.

You've likely heard that multitasking is problematic, but new studies show that it kills your performance and may even damage your brain.

Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time....

Well of course. But you often hear people claim that they're "good at multitasking." Usually they claim this right after they make some error due to not paying attention to a specific task, instead choosing to "multitask." And when you say "Well you probably screwed up because you weren't paying attention to one thing," they'll say "But I'm so good at multitasking."

Well, apparently they're not.

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance--were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Ouch.

So people who pay attention to one thing at a time are better at multitasking (when they're required to) than people who prefer to "multitask."

Oh, and supposedly it makes you dumb.

Again, I know this is true. I am dumber now.

...

Research also shows that, in addition to slowing you down, multitasking lowers your IQ. A study at the University of London found that participants who multitasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines that were similar to what they’d expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night. IQ drops of 15 points for multitasking men lowered their scores to the average range of an 8-year-old child.

So, there you go.



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posted by Ace at 02:27 PM

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