September 4, 2019
The school year has started and that means people have a lot going on. We have to deal with school, jobs, family, having a social life and having alone time. As a student, I multitask often. For instance, while writing this article I am listening to music. Other examples could include listening to music while reading, writing notes while listening to a teacher’s lecture or talking to people while doing homework. I also multitask when I am not at school: chewing gum while walking, looking at my phone while watching TV, tying my shoe while talking, etc. Multitasking is so frequent in people’s lives that it can be hard to believe that there are negative consequences, but there are.
Some people believe they have a special gift for multitasking but that is simply not true. Research has proven that heavy multitaskers are actually worse at multitasking then those who like to do one thing at a time. People who heavily multitask have a harder time filtering out irrelevant information, switching from one task to another and organizing their thoughts. The brain lacks the capacity of preforming both tasks successfully. I know that when I am talking to a friend and doing homework I never do as well as I could because I am not completely focused on the homework.
Multitasking also lowers IQ and EQ (Emotional Intelligence). Studies have found that your IQ score can decline to what would be expected if you smoked marijuana or stayed up all night. Scientists also have found that heavy multitaskers had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region of the brain responsible for cognitive and emotional control and empathy. More research is needed to rule if multitasking physically harms the brain. Multitasking during social settings indicates low Social- and Self Awareness, two EQ skills that are critical to success in school and work.
Scientists have not determined if the effects of multitasking are permanent, but it would be beneficial if you multitask a lot to cut back. Maybe just turn off the music while you read or do homework like I turned off my music while writing this article. Multitasking is normal in this society especially with cell phones which make it easier to multitask. Just remember that multitasking can make it harder to concentrate, be organized and pay attention to details.