Screwed

June 13, 2010

Lo jee. Warh gaye.

Information overload? Heavy multimedia users are more easily distracted by irrelevant information

Most surprisingly of all, given their natural leanings, the heavy multi-taskers were even worse than the light group at switching between two tasks!

The key question here is whether heavy multimedia use is actually degrading the ability to focus, or whether people who are already easily distracted are more likely to drown themselves in media. "This is really the next big question," says Ophir. "Our study makes no causal claims; we have simply shown that media multitaskers are more distractable." The next step is to follow a group of people with different media habits over time to see how their mental abilities shift, and that’s something that Ophir is working to set up.

but there may be hope:

While we find out, it’s important to bear in mind that the tests in this study examined just a few aspects of cognitive control, and in turn, cognitive control is just one aspect of our repertoire of mental skills. We don’t know whether media multitasking boosts performance in other areas that could compensate for deficits in some, and Ophir is open to the possibility of discovering such benefits.

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