NPR on Multitasking

  • Aired:  07/16/13
  •  | Views: 24,096

According to NPR, multitaskers are terrible at all sorts of cognitive tasks -- but in their defense, they're terrible at them at the same time. (5:03)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

YOU KNOW, FOLKS, I AM A FAMILY

PERSON WHO HAS A BIG SHOW LIKE

THIS.

IT'S NO SECRET THAT I LEAD A

KIND OF BUSY LIFE SO I DO A LOT

OF MULTITASKING.

FOR INSTANCE, RIGHT NOW I AM

BOTH DOING THIS SHOW AND

WATCHING IT ON UP ON THESE

MONITORS UP HERE.

ALTHOUGH I'VE GOT TO SAY RIGHT

NOW I'M DOING A LITTLE BIT MORE

WATCHING.

I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE WHAT I'M

GOING TO SAY NEXT.

NOT MUCH GOING ON RIGHT NOW.

ANYWAY, WE'LL GET BACK TO THIS

LATER.

SOMEBODY TIVO THIS, OKAY.

UNFORTUNATELY FOR MULTITASKERS

LIKE ME, I HEARD SOME VERY

DISTURBING NEWS RECENTLY ON THE

N.P.R.

ACTUALLY LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE I

WAS HALF LISTENING AND HALF

CUTTING UP VEGETABLES FOR SOUP.

HERE'S N.P.R. AS IRA FLATOW ONE

OF MY TOP TWO PUBLIC RADIO IRAS.

>> MULTITASKING MAY BE AFFECTING

OUR ABILITY TO CONCENTRATE,

MANAGE OUR EMOTIONS, MAYBE THINK

CREATIVELY.

>> THE RESEARCH IS ALMOST

UNANIMOUS.

PEOPLE WHO MULTITASK SHOW ANY

NORNLG US RANGE OF DEFICITS.

THEY'RE BASICALLY TERRIBLE AT

ALL SORTS OF COGNITIVE TASKS

INCLUDING MULTITASKING.

>> Stephen: MULTITASKERS ARE

TERRIBLE AT ALL SORTS OF

COGNITIVE TASKS BUT IN THEIR

DEFENSE THEY'RE TERRIBLE AT THEM

AT THE SAME TIME.

BUT FINE, I'LL BITE.

WHAT ARE THESE MULTITASKS THEY

MULTI-SUCK AT?

>> WE HAVE SCALES THAT ALLOW US

TO DIVIDE UP PEOPLE.

THE DIFFERENCES ARE REMARKABLE.

PEOPLE WHO MULTITASK ALL THE

TIME CAN'T FILTER OUT

IRRELEVANCY.

THEY CAN'T MANAGE A WORKING

MEMORY.

THEY'RE CHRONICALLY DISTRACTED.

>> Stephen: OH, SORRY.

THIS CROOKED FRAME WAS DRIVING

ME NUTS.

ANYWHERE, WHERE WAS I?

RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT, THE SHOW.

NOW ANYWAY, N.P.R. WAS TELLING

ME THAT MULTITASKING IS A MYTH

WHICH IS IRONIC BECAUSE N.P.R.

IS GREAT AT IT.

THEY SIMULTANEOUSLIEN RAGE ME

AND WASTE MY TAX DOLLARS.

WELL, CLEARLY THESE RESEARCHERS

SPOKE TO THE WRONG MULTITASKERS

BECAUSE SOME OF US KNOW HOW TO

DO IT AND SOME DON'T.

IT'S A SIMPLE MATTER OF FOCUS

HERE.

I'LL SHOW YOU.

FIRST OF ALL, I'M JUST GOING TO

DO A LITTLE ONLINE SHOPPING,

ALSO CONFIRM MY TEE TIME THIS

WEEK END WITH MY BUDDY CHAD

WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY MAKING

MYSELF A DELICIOUS TOAST SNACK.

THERE THAT GOES IN THERE.

SET THAT TO GOLDEN BROWN.

AND THERE WE GO.

OKAY.

I LIKE THOSE BLACKS IN NAN...

SLACKS IN NANTUCKET RED.

TAKE THOSE IN MEN'S PETITE.

SLIM CUT.

BOOT LEG.

STRETCH WASTE.

AMPLE SEAT.

THERE YOU GO.

OKAY.

ALL RIGHT.

NOW.

CHAD, 11:00 WORKS BETTER FOR ME

AND SEND.

OKAY.

THE QUESTION IS AM I GOING TO

HAVE APRICOT JAM OR STRAWBERRY?

YOU KNOW WHAT?

I THINK I'LL MULTI-SNACK AND

HAVE BOTH.

CHOALD ON ONE SECOND.

CHINO IS GOLFING WITH US.

WHO'S CHINO?

MEXICANS DON'T GOLF.

I DON'T UNDERSTAND.

OKAY.

LET'S SEE.

WHY DOES CHAD WANT MY CREDIT

CARD INFORMATION?

THAT DOESN'T MAKE... HEY, THE

TOAST IS READY.

SMELLS AMAZING!

MMMMM.

WAIT.

HOLD ON ONE SECOND.

I FEEL SO TERRIBLE FOR PEOPLE

WHO HAVE TO GIVE UP THE GLUTEN.

CREDIT CARD DENIED?

I BETTER JUST CALL THEM.

SIRI, CALL J-CREW.

J-CREW, J-CREW!

THESE THINGS REALLY DO SUCK AS

PHONES.

ANYWAY DAMN, I BURNED IT.

(DOORBELL) COME IN.

>> YOU ORDERED DELIVERY.

Stephen: OH, MY PANTS ARE

HERE ALREADY.

THANKS, CHINO.

>> I'M PHIL.

Stephen: I'M JUST A LITTLE

FRAZZLED.

HERE'S YOUR TIP.

THAT REMINDS ME, I BETTER GET

BACK TO CHAD.

THERE WE GO.

ALL RIGHT.

LET'S SEE.

CHAD, SEE YOU ON THE GREEN SEND.

SEE?

MULTITASKING IS NO BIG DEAL.

NOW IF YOU'LL EXCUSE ME, I'VE

GOT TO GO PICK UP MY CAR FROM

THE VET AND MY CAT FROM THE

SHOP.

POOR GUY HAD HIS MUFFLER

REMOVED.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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