multi-taskingAre you a good multi-tasker?  If you answered ‘yes’, scientists at Stanford might disagree with you. When university students tested in a multitasking experiment involving colored bars, the heavy media multitaskers were more likely to have trouble ignoring irrelevant stimuli.

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Multi-Tasking Has Its Costs

media-multi-taskersFrom the report: “Heavy Media Multitaskers have greater difficulty filtering out irrelevant stimuli from their environment..and they are less effective in suppressing the activation of irrelevant task sets (task switching).

Dyslexics as a group are more sensitive to visual and auditory distractions

As a group, dyslexic people are more likely to be sensitive to distractions (both visual and auditory) which is why some students request and receive small group testing accommodations for high stakes tests.  To learn more about trouble hearing why visually studying, read Research: Huh? Seeing But Not Hearing).

But not all multi-tasking may be bad. Trying to read while chatting on Facebook and checking mail, is not good, but reading or studying to music (especially familiar or overlearned music) may be fine. Pleasurable music has effects on alertness and positive mood, but there is also research evidence that suggest that music boosts verbal memory by way of episodic memory (typically strong in dyslexic people).

RIY (Read It Yourself) Research Papers:

music-verbal-memory
media-multitaskers-research

More Research Papers:
http://decone.psy.unipd.it/De.Co.Ne_LAB_Unipd/A._Facoetti_files/perception2008.pdf
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0042698904002342

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