Multitasking gets in the way of effective performance. It’s something “everyone knows” and now there’s proof. Deborah Hartman Preuss posted a news item on www.infoq.com that talks about a Stanford University study that investigated the impact of ongoing multitasking has on productivity and effectiveness.
Researchers were particularly surprised that what they called “heavy media multi-taskers” performed worse on a test of task-switching ability, “likely due to reduced ability to filter out interference from the irrelevant task set.”
This study again confirms what cognitive scientists have said all along: processing multiple incoming streams of information is considered a challenge for human cognition.
The article can be found at http://www.infoq.com/news/2009/09/study-multitasking-performance and the Stanford study at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/08/21/0903620106.abstract
This is a message that “everyone knows” but so often gets forgotten in the workplace.
Posted by Shane Hastie