Is Multi-Tasking Bad for Your Brain?

23 Dec

If you are a proud multi-tasker and think you are more productive because of your “gift” for multi-tasking, what you are about to discover may be a rude awakening for you.  Here is why: A recent study conducted at Stanford University found that multi-taskers are LESS productive than those who do one thing at time and multi-tasking might ever harm your brain.

According to Forbes, “Research conducted at Stanford University found that multi-tasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers also found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.” 

But what about those people who have a special skill for multi-tasking?  Glad you asked.  The study compared two groups: those who multi-task a lot and think multi-tasking makes them more productive and those who prefer to do one thing at a time until that one thing is completed. Results:  People who claimed to be more productive when multi-tasking were actually worse at multi-tasking than people who usually do one task at a time until completion.  Also from Forbes, “The frequent multi-taskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another.”  The reason for these results seems to be because the brain functions best when focusing on one thing at a time.  When time is split between two or more things, performance is decreased for all tasks involved.

But it gets even worse…  There is evidence multi-tasking actually lowers your IQ!  According to the Forbes article:  “A study at the University of London found that participants who multi-tasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines that were similar to what they’d expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night.”  Not only that, the evidence suggests the damage done by multi-tasking may be permanent.  MRI scans of people who are high multi-taskers found that areas of the brain responsible for empathy and cognitive and emotional control were less dense.  If you want to be more productive and maybe even smarter, then stop multi-tasking and do one task at a time until completion.

Remember, we’re always here to help your body heal and maintain the pain free body you deserve.

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all health care concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a health care professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

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