What makes you more stupid: smoking marijuana, emailing while talking on the phone or losing a night’s sleep?
Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London studied 1,100 workers at a British company and found that multitasking with electronic media caused a greater decrease in IQ than smoking pot or losing a nights sleep.
A similar study was reported in 2005 at King’s College in London tested the IQ of three groups:
The first group did nothing but perform the IQ test
The second group was distracted by e-mail and a ringing phone
The third group was stoned on marijuana
The results: The first group performed best – by an average of 10 IQ points.
The stoners outperformed the e-mailers by 6 IQ points.
Dr. Glenn Wilson of the University of Nevada calls it “informania”, a condition created by using multiple electronic devices and employer’s growing demands to tackle more than one task at a time.
Professor David Meyer, director of the University of Michigan’s Brain Cognition and Action Laboratory, concluded that even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks cost as much as 40% of someone’s productive time.
There are studies that show it can take up to 15 minutes to get yourself back into the same degree of immersion after an interruption.
How about women being better multi-taskers than men? Dr. Julia Irwin, senior lecturer in psychology at Macquarie University, Sydney Australia reports, “When I looked in the literature, there is not a single study in psychology that showed that women are better at multitasking. But what I did find in the sociological literature is that they [women] multiple task more often.”
“This has led to the belief that women are better at multitasking, but the more studies are done, the fewer differences they find between female and male brains.
What to do? Well, at the risk of oversimplifying, here is what you need to do:
Do one think at a time—-
Do it right ——