Your Brain on Multitasking

CNN: “Your Brain on Multitasking”
By Sanjay Gupta, MD
2 min, 1 sec.

Dr. Gupta explains in this video why effective multitasking is a myth for the vast majority of us. When you are working on activity A and then begin to work on activity B, attention is diverted away from activity A to activity B (so you are not doing both at once), slowing down your speed and quality on both tasks. Even though you can switch very quickly from one to the other, your bandwidth decreases so you’re doing the two tasks less effectively than if you were only focusing on one at a time. He references a study that shows that when you look at the brain activity of someone who is driving, adding paying attention to something you are listing to will decrease the bandwidth for driving by 37%.

He acknowledges that 2% of the population are genetically gifted and able to multitask. But if you think you’re one of them, you’re probably wrong. Because he also points out that people who think they’re the best at multitasking actually are usually the worst.

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