Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Science of Concentration










One of the high-frequency words I have a hard time with is 'multitaksing.' I simply don't buy the core meaning of this word. People cannot do different things at the same time. What they can do, which might give the impression of doing different things simultaneously, is create a hierarchy of importance/relevance and abide by it.
I do think that multitasking is a myth. Which is also the point of the below-quoted article. The premise of the study is informed by William James' quote, "“My experience is what I agree to attend to.”"

A bit says:

"“Multitasking is a myth,” Ms. Gallagher said. “You cannot do two things at once. The mechanism of attention is selection: it’s either this or it’s that.” She points to calculations that the typical person’s brain can process 173 billion bits of information over the course of a lifetime.

“People don’t understand that attention is a finite resource, like money,” she said. “Do you want to invest your cognitive cash on endless Twittering or Net surfing or couch potatoing? You’re constantly making choices, and your choices determine your experience, just as William James said.”

Read more here.




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5 comments:

Sra said...

I think "multi-tasking" is actually breaking different tasks into smaller chunks and then switching back and forth between them, maybe to break up the monotony, or because there is down time in one task that could be filled with another task. I agree that you can't focus on more than one thing simultaneously.

james said...

Multitasking is code for superficiality and lack of depth.

Anonymous said...

Being able to concentrate is not just a gift. It's an ability. But, as it is the case with most abilities, it needs to be practiced often and right to be kept.

Anonymous said...

Being able to concentrate is not just a gift. It's an ability. But, as it is the case with most abilities, it needs to be practiced often and right to be kept.

Nicki said...

I don't know why well-done tasks are not as respected as doing a lot of tasks albeit not so well.
Quality should be primary and it comes to pass as a result of focus.