As there is increasingly more media technologies dominating our lives it’s not surprising the practice of using multiple technologies at once or multitasking is causing the debate whether this is a good or bad thing.
As I sit on my lounge watching television, snap chatting friends on my mobile whilst also trying to write this blog, it would be considered that I am media multitasking.
However, am I really doing all 3 things at once? According to Forbes (2013) there is great reason to believe that we are never doing multiple things at once but instead our brain is switching between tasks giving us the impression that it is happening all at once.
With this being the case, it can then be questioned whether a brain trying to process multiple fragmented bits of information at once is actually beneficial in any ay or whether the new era of digital multi tasking is interfering with productivity and learning.
Throughout a study looking at the affects of multitasking, it was noted that digital multitasking was linked to self-produced distractions such as off-track thoughts (Ralph et. al. 2014 p. 667), which ultimately would be detrimental to being productive at the task in hand.
These distractions are caused as we flick across multiple media devices because our brains are trying to process multiple fragments of information very quickly. And this is because our brains are not structured to process multiple streams of information that are intended for long term memory at once (Merrill 2012).
Not only does our brain then generate other of-track thoughts as it tries to work out how to store the overload of information, but it proves to be unproductive again as the brain then stores a majority of the fragmented information through multitasking into our short-term memory (Merrill 2012), because it is not structured to take it all in naturally.
So as I sit here doing this blog post whilst watching TV, it is clear that the process of multitasking or should I say rapidly switching from task to task is ultimately detrimental to myself, and probably this blog as the fragmented pieces of information I am taking in, and then putting into my blog, is clouded by the other information my brain is trying to process form the technology around me.
Kleiman, J 2013, How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain (and Your Effectiveness at Work), Foribes, viewed 14 September, 2014, <http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2013/01/15/how-multitasking-hurts-your-brain-and-your-effectiveness-at-work/>.
Merrill, D 2012, Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work, Forbes, viewed 14 September 2014, <http://www.forbes.com/sites/douglasmerrill/2012/08/17/why-multitasking-doesnt-work/>.
Ralph, B, Thomson, D, Cheyne, J & Smilek, D 2014, ‘Media multitasking and failures of attention in everyday life’, Psychological Research, vol. 78, no. 5, pp. 661 – 669.