Sign up FAST! Login

What Multitasking Does To Our Brains

What Multitasking Does To Our Brains

Source: Lifehacker

Stashed in: #lifehacks, Productivity, Brain, Life Hacks, Brain

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Lifehacker notes:

Our brains can't multitask at all. If we have lunch, 5 Facebook chat windows open and also try to send off an email, it isn't that our brain focuses on all these activities at the same time.

Instead, multitasking splits the brain. It creates something researchers have called "spotlights". So all your brain is doing is to frantically switch between the activity of eating, to writing an email, to answering chat conversations.

In the image above, you can see the different brain activities for various tasks that the brain switches between. It jumps back and forth as you focus on each task for a few seconds at a time:

What's more is that Clifford Nass, a researcher at Stanford assumed that those who multitask heavily will nonetheless develop some other outstanding skills. He thought that they will be amazing at 1. filtering information, 2. being very fast at switching between the tasks and 3. keeping a high working memory.

He found that none of these 3 points are true:

We were absolutely shocked. We all lost our bets. It turns out multitaskers are terrible at every aspect of multitasking.

People who multitask a lot are in fact a lot worse at filtering irrelevant information and also perform significantly worse at switching between task, compared to singletaskers.


1. Keep the number of tabs in your browser to a minimum. One is best.

2. Plan the most important thing to get done tomorrow before you sleep.

3. Change your work location at least once a day.

Also, listening to music isn't multitasking. That uses a different part of the brain.

You May Also Like: