In this digitally-ruled world, it seems that everyone is always plugged into their iPhones, iPads, televisions and laptops, sometimes all at once. But this type of media multitasking is not as distracting as you think.
Telling adolescents juggling several electronic devices to “focus on the task at hand” may in fact hinder their performance, according to new research.
"Maybe practice really does make perfect," researcher Alexandra Ulmer, a senior at Oregon Episcopal School, said in a press release.
"In our current multimedia environment, there are people who are multitasking at an exceedingly high rate, and the reality is that they may have become really good at it," added co-author Sarayu Caulfield.
To study how media multitasking affects adolescents’ ability to process information, the researchers recruited 196 females and 207 males ages 10-19. After answering questions on their daily media habits, participants then completed randomly assigned tests to assess their ability to switch between tasks and to focus on a single task. Either they completed the assignment without distractions, or with auditory, visual and cognitive distractions such as responding to emails.
Surprisingly, the popular notion that multitasking results in poor performance was debunked for adolescents, who spend a lot of time switching between media devices and tasks.
According to the study, non-multitaskers averaged about 2.5 hours of homework per day and were multitasking 0.08 percent of this time. Meanwhile, those adept at multitasking did homework for about 3.5 hours a day and juggled multiple tasks for more than 50 percent of this time.
High media multitaskers were better at filtering out distractions, but in fact performed worse when made to focus on a single task, possibly suggesting that teaching styles should be modified accordingly.
"This study suggests that digital natives (adolescents who grew up with exposure to multiple media) with high multiple media use may have developed an enhanced working memory and perform better in distracting environments than when focused on a single task with no distractions," Ulmer added.
The findings were presented Oct. 11 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition.
Audrey Hepburn may have had a pet deer, but the award for most dangerous and bad-ass exotic pet likely goes to the equally beautiful actress Tippi Hedren, who shared her quaint Sherman Oaks, California home with a massive full grown lion named Neil. Along with her family members, husband Noel Marshall (a writer and producer) and Hedren’s daughter from another marriage, a then-teenaged Melanie Griffith, we can see how Neil integrated into the family’s activities and home.
I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.