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 Jun 23, 2008 - 11:10 AM - by Michael
* Multitasking Bad

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Personal Stuff/Random News
The New Atlantis has a study that shows Multitasking is bad, mmkay?

It is also what makes multitasking a poor long-term strategy for learning. Other studies, such as those performed by psychologist Ren? Marois of Vanderbilt University, have used fMRI to demonstrate the brain?s response to handling multiple tasks. Marois found evidence of a ?response selection bottleneck? that occurs when the brain is forced to respond to several stimuli at once. As a result, task-switching leads to time lost as the brain determines which task to perform. Psychologist David Meyer at the University of Michigan believes that rather than a bottleneck in the brain, a process of ?adaptive executive control? takes place, which ?schedules task processes appropriately to obey instructions about their relative priorities and serial order,? as he described to the New Scientist. Unlike many other researchers who study multitasking, Meyer is optimistic that, with training, the brain can learn to task-switch more effectively, and there is some evidence that certain simple tasks are amenable to such practice. But his research has also found that multitasking contributes to the release of stress hormones and adrenaline, which can cause long-term health problems if not controlled, and contributes to the loss of short-term memory.
Subtle hint: take it a bit easier, concentrate on one thing at a time, and you'll be better off. The secondary concern: we're actively damaging kids' brains with "multitasking" at schools.
 

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