Very often, we hear the YouTube/Instagram celebrities/influencers boasting about how they multitask since time is really important for them and *whir* they roll out another sponsored product for you to buy. First of all, everyone needs to understand that the influencers out there are not posting to make our lives better but to sell the product they are sponsoring except for a very few and it is their sole motive to make the video as catchy as possible so that their content earn views. For example in a “Millionaire Motivation Video”, how buying the stuff that they are endorsing will help us to become a millionaire? We are rather losing money than gaining it. So people need to be skeptical about the things they are trying to sell. Now getting back to our main topic.
How we Multi-task?
Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at MIT, says that most of the time, we simply can't focus on more than one thing at a time.
"People can't multitask very well, and when people say they can, they're deluding themselves," said neuroscientist Earl Miller.
"Switching from task to task, you think you're actually paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But you're actually not," Miller said.
"You're not paying attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them very rapidly," Miller said. He said that we can switch between these tasks at an astonishing speed. He said there are several reasons the brain has to switch among tasks. One is that similar tasks compete to use the same part of the brain also known as the state resources.
The efficiency of multitasking depends on the
difficulty of the work that we are doing. For example, talking while walking is
not very hard to do but texting/calling while driving could be disastrous. To
understand the concept of multitasking, we would have to understand the concept
of state resources and switching time.
The state resources are the resources of the brain that are being used to store the information about the task that we are performing. To start a new task midway means to clear the state resources for the other one, this takes time and acts as a bottleneck while multitasking. The time required to make this transition is also known as the switching time.
Reading comprehension and texting simultaneously:
A lot of students believe that they could text and read at the same time without hindering their grasping power but the experiments conducted by Colter Norick and Colin Norick show the results to be quite opposite. They concluded that “Students remembered 6% more from the passages they read while not texting, a statistically significant amount.” The results also highlighted that when the students texted while taking the reading comprehension test, they did 9% worse than the students who didn't.
Also by multitasking, we are creating a situation where we are not concentrating on a single thing. There are already full grown adults out there who have an attention span of a six-year-old and adding multi-tasking to it could be disastrous. So it is a wise idea to do one task at a time unless it is necessary to do the other one at the same time.