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You’re Not Special; Multitasking is Bad for You


Chronic media multitasking is quickly becoming ubiquitous, although processing multiple incoming streams of information is considered a challenge for human cognition. A series of experiments addressed whether there are systematic differences in information processing styles between chronically heavy and light media multitaskers. A trait media multitasking index was developed to identify groups of heavy and light media multitaskers. These two groups were then compared along established cognitive control dimensions. Results showed that heavy media multitaskers are more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli and from irrelevant representations in memory. This led to the surprising result that heavy media multitaskers performed worse on a test of task-switching ability, likely due to reduced ability to filter out interference from the irrelevant task set. These results demonstrate that media multitasking, a rapidly growing societal trend, is associated with a distinct approach to fundamental information processing.

I have made it a point to no longer have, ever, more than one screen on around me at one time. And I even make it a rule not to jump around from one article to the next when I working through a reading list. I read one article completely before moving on to the next.

Social Sciences – Psychological and Cognitive Sciences: Eyal Ophir, Clifford Nass, and Anthony D. Wagner, Cognitive control in media multitaskers. PNAS 2009; published ahead of print August 24, 2009, doi:10.1073/pnas.0903620106


Gaps In Regulation And Oversight Left West Virginia Chemical Spill Site Uninspected For 22 Years

The essential critique of government is this: Government has the resources to listen to every phone call and to fingerbang every airline passenger, but not the resources to occasionally inspect dangerous waste areas.