Modern communication technology devices like cell phones, tablets, and laptops enable us to accomplish tasks more efficiently and quickly.
Using mobile devices, we can sit in a meeting or seminar, text dinner plans to our spouse, browse email, and even pay a bill – all at the same time. “Very productive”.
There are some instances when multitasking can be beneficial, but most of the implications of multitasking are negative
Researchers from Stanford University state how multi-tasking can hamper and cause brain damage. During this research, the team found that those multi-tasked were unable to pay much attention and recall information accurately as compared to those who stuck to doing one task at a time.
The Stanford team compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multi-taskers were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multi-taskers performed worse because they had more trouble organising their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information. They were also slower at switching from one task to another.
However, it is possible for our brains to multitask if one of the tasks is not cognitively demanding. Walking and chewing gum, for example, is quite possible because gum-chewing requires no actual brain power. The problem comes when trying to do two things at once that tax the brain.
he human brain cannot actually give its full attention to two tasks at once. Instead, it toggles back and forth between the tasks, resulting in neither task getting the attention it deserves. With each switch, there is a loss in performance and accuracy. Try to multiply a number in your head while reading a book or watching a movie while having an intense discussion about the universe with a friend…you can’t do justice to both at once.
“Distracted” driving is a perfect example. Most everyone agrees that texting and driving is dangerous. Most would also say that driving while using a handheld phone is risky. Although, most of these same people believe they themselves are quite capable of doing both successfully! The majority of drivers, as well as lawmakers, believe that it is perfectly safe to drive and talk on a phone as long as it is hands-free. They are wrong.