The Zoomer Report: Multi-tasking

Can you talk on the phone, send an instant message and read your e-mail all at once? Stanford researchers say you might think you get a lot done when you multitask, but it isn’t so.

They found 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.

After putting about 100 students through a series of three tests, the researchers found that heavy media multitaskers underperformed the light multitaskers.

The researchers say the multitaskers couldn’t help thinking about the task they weren’t doing, and they high kept drawing from all the information in front of them, which made them unable to keep things separate in their minds.

The researchers are still studying whether chronic media multitaskers are born with an inability to concentrate or are damaging their cognitive control by willingly taking in so much at once. But they’re convinced the minds of multitaskers are not working as well as they could. The bottom line: By doing less, you might accomplish more.

Photo © paul kline



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About The Zoomer Report


Libby ZnaimerLibby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.

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