Posted by: kurtsh | December 26, 2011

INFO: Multitasking kills attention span, focus, & memory

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Multitasking damages your mental capacity to concentrate.

I’ve written about a similar phenomenon before called ‘infomania’, (see QUESTION: Is your short-term memory disappearing like mine? and STUDY: Email can diminish an individual’s IQ) related to getting constant notifications like IM toasts, incoming emails, phone calls, etc. but I just recently uncovered another article about this issue.  It’s something I saved from back in 2009 from Stanford University research.

Here’s a clip from the article:

Stanford Report, August 24, 2009

Media multitaskers pay mental price, Stanford study shows

Think you can talk on the phone, send an instant message and read your e-mail all at once? Stanford researchers say even trying may impair your cognitive control.

BY ADAM GORLICK

Attention, multitaskers (if you can pay attention, that is): Your brain may be in trouble.

People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time, a group of Stanford researchers has found.

High-tech jugglers are everywhere – keeping up several e-mail and instant message conversations at once, text messaging while watching television and jumping from one website to another while plowing through homework assignments.

But after putting about 100 students through a series of three tests, the researchers realized those heavy media multitaskers are paying a big mental price.

"They’re suckers for irrelevancy," said communication Professor Clifford Nass, one of the researchers whose findings are published in the Aug. 24 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Everything distracts them."


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