The Burrow

Is Multitasking Killing Your Brain?

Lenora Brown, Staff Writer

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Multitasking is the art of handling two or more tasks at a time and almost all of us think we are very good at it and do more work while multitasking. However, only 2% of the population is actually multitasking, the rest of us are just switching from tasks very quickly. A study by Stanford University says, “People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time…”

Despite the fact that it would be better for your brain to finish one task before starting another, the brain releases endorphins like dopamine whenever a task, no matter how small, is achieved. So, answering a single e-mail makes you happier, faster, than completing all your homework.  MIT neuroscientist, Earl Miller points out in “The Guardian” that our human minds are “not wired to multitask well… when people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost.”

Multitasking is also damaging to your intelligence. A study by the University of London finds that multitasking can lower your IQ (intelligence quota) by ten points. This is more than smoking pot or losing a full night’s sleep and the damage could be permanent. A study from the University of Sussex ran MRI scans on the brains of individuals who multitasked (watching T.V. and checking e-mails for example). They “more often had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex.” That’s the area responsible for empathy and emotional control.

To summarize, multitasking is not a skill to add to your resume proudly. Your brain would probably thank you profusely if you broke this nasty habit and starting accomplishing tasks the way you were meant to. One at a time.

 

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Is Multitasking Killing Your Brain?