Tuesday, December 2, 2014

High Cost of Multitasking, 2

With its two hemispheres, the brain can only effectively handle two complex cognitive tasks or activities at the same time. Studies at Stanford found that when a third cognitive task was added and the brain attempted to prioritize the task, it became overwhelmed. It put what it perceived to be a less-important task on the back burner and often completely forgot to accomplish it. The myth is that when you attempt to complete two or more complicated tasks at once you are multitasking (working on multiple projects at the same time). Not so. The brain is simply rapidly shifting its attention from one task to another—or trying to do so. The brain requires time to completely shift its attention from one cognitive task to another, some have estimated this to be as much as seven seconds. Regardless, seconds or nanoseconds, constantly shifting one’s attention from one task to another can deplete productivity by as much as 40%, which can increase the time required to accomplish these tasks by as much as 50%. More tomorrow.

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