While writing this, the article on Wired.com - Multitasking Muddles Brains, Even When the Computer Is Off - is still open in a different tab in front of me; I want to reread some parts of it. I'm cooking dinner, and the timers will go off in a minute. On the Discovery Channel in front of me, they're telling some fascinating stories about Cleopatra's family. Lots of murders and stuff.
So Wired confirms what we've been told before: the multitasking that drives my life is making me less productive, not more so. Excellent.
“We wanted to ask a different question,” said Clifford Nass, a Stanford University cognitive scientist. “What happens to people who multitasking all the time?”
In a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nass and Stanford psychologists Anthony Wagner and Eyal Ophir surveyed 262 students on their media consumption habits.
As you might imagine, those who regularly manage their activities as I do - several at a time - didn't fare as well as those who customiarily do not. My own main question was raised here:
As for what caused the differences — whether people with a predisposition to multitask happen to be mentally disorganized, or if multitasking feeds the condition — “that’s the million dollar question, and we don’t have a million dollar answer,” said Nass.
I guess we'll have to keep waiting for the answer to that million dollar question before anybody's going to be able to help us figure out how to unmuddle?