Kids Don't Multitask As Well As They'd Like You To Think
from the ooh,-look,-something-shiny... dept
Over the past few years, there have been plenty of stories about the rise of multitasking, especially among the younger generation. The general consensus is that having grown up with multitasking, they’re just better at it. However, in a NY Times article that suggests people really don’t handle multitasking very well, the author points to research suggesting that while kids may multitask more often, it doesn’t mean they’re very good at it. If anything, it just tends to show that they’re not very good at ignoring distractions. Of course, as with many of these discussions the definition of multitasking can be quite tricky. We were just talking about the evolutionary benefits of continuous partial attention, that allowed a brain to work on more challenging problems while it was overtly working on less interesting issues. But is that really multitasking? At the same time, some people blame multitasking for not being able to keep the attention of people who they want to listen to them — but again, that’s a different issue. Perhaps part of the problem is that multitasking has multiple definitions to multiple people, and that makes it that much more difficult to recognize when it’s a problem and when it’s beneficial.