bp's science: multitasking

A while back, Jess and I watched a segment on NOVA describing that no one is really great at multitasking, and when you are multitasking there is no way to have your cake and eat it too.  Or in other words, "Do two or more things simultaneously, and you'll do none at full capacity."

But when we do multitask, it turns out that women are better at it than men.  New research from the UK published in BMC Psychology, put 120 men and 120 women through a series of tasks.  When completing the tasks one at a time, men and women performed equally.  However, when they were asked to do a number of mixed tasks, the men took 77% longer on the mixed tasks than on one task alone while the women took 69% longer.

And with that, I will continue to cook dinner, feed Ansel, and cut out letters for Oliver all at the same time, none of which I do very well, but I do it (see first paragraph).  Still, I am a believer that multitasking should probably be kept to a minimum when you can.  No one likes carrying on a conversation with someone looking at his/her phone, etc., and there is value in focusing on one task very well and truly thriving at it.

To see how you are affected by multitasking, try this series of tests out.  It's fun.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in bp's science are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any individual scientist, scientific association or the scientific community as a whole. The scientific information provided on bp's science is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a licensed or trained scientist, i.e., a competent authority with specialized knowledge who can apply it to a particular set of facts and circumstances. Please contact a local scientific society or similar association of scientists in your area if you require a referral for a particular scientific question or experiment.  Neither the author of bp's science nor anyone else connected to this blog can take any responsibility for the results or consequences of any attempt to use or adopt any of the information or disinformation presented on this blog.

1 comment:

Chap said...

Except nursing and reading are wonderful in concert, I felt more virtuous by reading aloud so that the baby benefitted, too!