…students remember just 20% of the content of class lectures a week later…
It seems that research has revealed that multitasking makes you dumb. Once you have read the quotes below, you might wonder, as I do, why educational institutions, especially Universities, expect you to simultaneously: listen to the lecturer, comprehend what they are saying, compile it into an abbreviated form, and write that in your notes. If that isn’t multitasking, I don’t know what is.
…in which Walter Kirn talks about the scientific results that support his claim and his own experiences with multitasking: that it destroys our ability to focus.
“Multitasking messes with the brain in several ways. At the most basic level, the mental balancing acts that it requires — the constant switching and pivoting — energize regions of the brain that specialize in visual processing and physical coordination and simultaneously appear to shortchange some of the higher areas related to memory and learning. We concentrate on the act of concentration at the expense of whatever it is that we’re supposed to be concentrating on… studies find that multitasking boosts the level of stress-related hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline and wears down our systems through biochemical friction, prematurely aging us. In the short term, the confusion, fatigue, and chaos merely hamper our ability to focus and analyze, but in the long term, they may cause it to atrophy.”
…entitled “Too Wired For Their Own Good?”, condemns the youth of the nation as gadget-obsessed, perennially multitasking, social failures who can’t really get into anything important or even relax. The article brings up example upon example of dysfunctional teenagers and their equally disjointed families.
It is good to see scientific evidence can now substantiate and explain this. Who knows – given that the research was released two years after the Time article, it may have even been in response to it.