Monday, March 26, 2007

Tsk Tsk, Multitaskers!

I told you so.

I've posted many times about the futility of so-called multitasking, a word incidentally spawned from computer-geek talk.

As noted in an article in yesterday's New York Times, recent findings by neuroscientists, psychologists, management professors (try managing in the real world), and The Laughorist indicate the following:

  • "Multitasking is going to slow you down, increasing the chances of mistakes." -- David E. Mayer, cognitive scientist
  • "Disruptions and interruptions are a bad deal from the standpoint of our ablity to process information." -- David E. Mayer
  • "...a core limitation [of the human brain] is an inability to concentrate on two things at once." -- Rene Marois, neuroscientist
  • "We are under the impression that we have this brain that can do more than it often can." -- Rene Marois
  • "The older people think more slowly, but they have a faster fluid intelligence..." -- Martin Westwell, 36, deputy director of the Institute for the Future of the Mind, at Oxford University
  • "I was surprised by how easily people were distracted and how long it took them to get back to the task." -- Eric Horvitz, Microsoft research scientist
  • "Nah nuh nah nuh nan ah! 'Age quod agis' rules!" -- Pawlie Kokonuts, The Laughorist
Incidentally, the Times juxtaposed this page 1 story with a story immediately above it about Sierra Leone diamond miners who make $1 a day or less. I guess they don't have to worry about, um, multitasking. Multiasking (for justice) is more the reality.


Michael C said...

I can't chew gum and type...or blog. I guess multitasking is not for me.

Meloncutter said...

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Sheila said...

I have to say I completely agree. I can multitask, but usually this leads to stress and/or mistakes. Things are always better if you take them one step at a time.

monicker said...

Yes, multitasking is great, till you screw up a major project with a silly mistake and your boss rains hellfire down on your head...

Which makes it all the more interesting that the Man increasingly expects us to do it.

Army said...

The oft left-out component of the definition of multitasking is the "successful" completion of more than one task simultaneously. And that is how the experiment failed.

Despite what those fancy-pants scientists say, I haven't killed myself driving while shaving over my Egg McMuffin crossword puzzle cell phone conversation yet... so keep your new-fangled science to yourself!