Multitasking Fries Your Brain

Why the modern world is bad for your brain | Science | The Guardian

This is a FASCINATING article. I’m not familiar enough with the subject matter to know if this is solid stuff, but it is plausible and thought provoking. The authors present evidence that when you say you are a computer addict, you are not speaking metaphorically. You are speaking quite literally.

They also believe that hyperactive, perpetual multitasking does permanent brain damage.

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I have obviously not conducted any research formally on this subject but anecdotally speaking, the biggest “Multitaskers” I know are the ones who age the best mentally; those who settle into a life that can be lived virtually by habit are the ones who seem to lose their edge mentally.

I am talking about the willingness to keep up with technology, politics and stay modern with their personal economic plans while simultaneously engaging in the lives of all those around them as the reliable anchor of responsibility to the point of requiring a schedule to fit everything in.

All of these that I know have been this way for many years and retirement just changes the content of the list a little but the capacity to organize, plan and execute a daily list of tasks effectively continues on.

In my family my Mother and Father were the first to take a class on how to use and build a computer, they did this back in the 1990’s sometime. Their kids and grandkids all learned at their house how to use a computer, they were the first ones with the Internet and E-Mail also.

My Parents were both in their 60’s at that time, Windows 98 had just been released.

My Parents are both in their late 70’s now, my Dad will be 80 in two months. He still works almost full time and my mother is still the “go to” person in my very large family when anything “goes sideways” for anyone; she never leaves a “T” uncrossed or an “I” not dotted and she never has.

Before we visit we always call because their schedules are more hectic today than most young couples with children and careers evolving, I see none of the mental deterioration in them that I see in many elderly people 10 or 15 years their junior.

I have always assumed it was because my parents never decided to stop learning or accept a concept of retirement that meant they no longer needed to be engaged and productive.

My laymen’s paradigm seems to hold up well as I observe how others age; those who keep “gripping & ripping” stay sharp and mobile while those who create low pressure routines that rarely require much organization beyond remembering when their favorite TV shows come on are the ones who “lose a step” mentally and physically the quickest.

So I guess I would have to say that a lot more would be required for me to embrace this authors theory, it seems to contradict everything that I observe around me.

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[quote=“RET423, post:2, topic:46015”]
I have obviously not conducted any research formally on this subject but anecdotally speaking, the biggest “Multitaskers” I know are the ones who age the best mentally; those who settle into a life that can be lived virtually by habit are the ones who seem to lose their edge mentally.

I am talking about the willingness to keep up with technology, politics and stay modern with their personal economic plans while simultaneously engaging in the lives of all those around them as the reliable anchor of responsibility to the point of requiring a schedule to fit everything in.

All of these that I know have been this way for many years and retirement just changes the content of the list a little but the capacity to organize, plan and execute a daily list of tasks effectively continues on.

In my family my Mother and Father were the first to take a class on how to use and build a computer, they did this back in the 1990’s sometime. Their kids and grandkids all learned at their house how to use a computer, they were the first ones with the Internet and E-Mail also.

My Parents were both in their 60’s at that time, Windows 98 had just been released.

My Parents are both in their late 70’s now, my Dad will be 80 in two months. He still works almost full time and my mother is still the “go to” person in my very large family when anything “goes sideways” for anyone; she never leaves a “T” uncrossed or an “I” not dotted and she never has.

Before we visit we always call because their schedules are more hectic today than most young couples with children and careers evolving, I see none of the mental deterioration in them that I see in many elderly people 10 or 15 years their junior.

I have always assumed it was because my parents never decided to stop learning or accept a concept of retirement that meant they no longer needed to be engaged and productive.

My laymen’s paradigm seems to hold up well as I observe how others age; those who keep “gripping & ripping” stay sharp and mobile while those who create low pressure routines that rarely require much organization beyond remembering when their favorite TV shows come on are the ones who “lose a step” mentally and physically the quickest.

So I guess I would have to say that a lot more would be required for me to embrace this authors theory, it seems to contradict everything that I observe around me.
[/quote] Interesting take. I might research the pros and cons and do a blog! I can see both sides but they can’t both be right!

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I think people are all so different that it’s an individual thing. Some people seem to be content with pushing button 1, 2, 3 all in sequence and get discombobulated if you change it up. I see multi-taskers as a different breed that would be bored doing mundane work.

As a Multitasker myself I have been accused of many things but “boring” has never made the list, my wife refers to my average day as a “runaway train” or “controlled chaos” :grin:

LOL…is she more the laid back type? I would think two “runaway trains” would collide a lot. :grin:

Multitasking is multicool. I love chaos because loving chaos frees the mind to keep producing.
I used to love to organize and would spend valuable time getting and keeping everything
straight. It dawned on me one day that I was wasting precious hours of life on unproductive
activity.


At that moment when it dawned upon me, was the moment I fell head over heels in 
love with Clutter. She is very beautiful. 

Here is what she looks like:

http://static.squarespace.com/static/53e9115fe4b0a2440413eb41/t/545a5c9be4b0775635ec413f/1415208091606/?format=750w

Here below is a pic of a good PIATH (Philosophical Intellectual Academic Talking Head),
William F. Buckley Jr., that understood just how beautiful she is. (Yes I DO think of Clutter
affectionately as feminine. I think its because Clutter is quite beautiful and I have never
seen anything more beautiful than a beautiful woman: A true work of art if there ever
was one.)

William F. Buckley Jr. At His Desk In His Magnificently Cluttered Office.

PS
I can only hope that my office (I called it My Lair) can one day look like Buckley’s.
I DO all I can every day to achieve what Buckley has accomplished with his office.

She (Buckley’s office) is a true sweetie pie, if I only had a Lair that was that delightfully
& beautifully cluttered I would name her Monica Baby after this work of art right here:

Monica Belluci

:smile:

:diamonds:

PSS

The abominations called neatness and organization are the natural enemies of multitasking
and by extension steady productivity eg. writing and reading and then more reading and
more writing.

:slight_smile:

`

Okay, those pictures just gave me a heart attack. :zombie:

I could mess up my desk, but when I was finished working it all had to go back in it’s place.

Not really, so we try to stay out each others paths when were on a mission :yes:

Yeah, my work space gets to looking like that at times but I can never stand to leave it that way for long; about the second time I go for something that is not there I start thinking about how it is taking longer to find something than the thing I need the “something” for will take me to do!

I’ll make room for ya. I hold the view that the Uncluttered Tribe and the Cluttered Tribe can coexist
peacefully on the Earth (two of very few Tribes that can btw).

All my clutter stays in the same place. The penalty for any family member that moves any piece of my Clutter
is the loss of the first joint on their pinky finger … lol … so far all have kept all their fingers.

If I add a piece of Clutter, I then create a home for it in a certain place within Clutterville and there it stays
forever and ever and ever … :smile:

:diamonds:

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My 2 cents, for what its worth (please no puns on that…) You want to see the effect on multitasking and technology advancement on humans? Go to a 3D movie (the new 3D movies, not the old ones with the red and green paper glasses) and watch who walks out complaining of a head ache. I’ve been to a few, and GENERALLY speaking those that are in their 50’s or up are the ones who leave with a head ache, whereas those 49 and below are fine. Same movie, different results, almost always across age lines. My personal explanation for this is that the younger generations (49 and below) grew up with higher graphics on TV’s and computers, our brains got ‘hard wired’ for massive amounts of (often useless in the real world) information being thrown on us all at once, which includes multitasking (younger generations are GENERALLY better at multi tasking than older generations) Not very scientific, and its just my own hypothesis. Just my 2 cents, for what its worth…

I think probably the person who wrote that article is envious of multitaskers.

As for the cluttered workplace, I just went through all my clutter where I knew they were, and couldn’t find 3 of my 4 1099’s. I went through time and again, put the stuff away in an orderly fashion, and I still can’t find them. I suspect (although I don’t remember doing it) that I “collected” them and put them somewhere “safe.” Of course, if I can’t find them, I’ll have to make some phone calls to get replacement. I neither owe tax, or have an income tax refund, but I need copies of all the 1099’s in order to apply for my real estate tax rebate. It was when I decided I had better get to it that I started looking for them. The one company had an online site I could download it from, but apparently they have removed it since the end of January. I may try again; I hate making phone calls, and that will save me one if I can get it.

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I embrace CLUTTER.

I spend a good deal of my time in my recliner (not necessarily by choice, but more because of handicap). Beside it I have a table. That table not only has things that are of immediate use, it is my “filing cabinet” for important things:

I know where everything is.

For example, down below that pile of papers topped by my earphones is a blue folder that holds my living will, power of attorney for my son, and also my last will. I have in fact communicated with him that the papers he will need on my expiration are “on the table beside my chair, in a blue folder labeled ‘will’, and THAT folder is at the bottom of the stack of papers on the table”. I’ve also told my daughter and sister the same thing.

My wife will frequently say, “We need to clean up your table” . . . especially when she knows there’s company coming over.

Me: “NO, WE DON’T. If they don’t like it . . . blah, blah, blah (you can use your imagination for the “blah, blah, blah”). DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT TOUCHING ANY OF THAT STUFF.

She’ll say, “Just let me put some of that stuff in a box, we can put it in the ‘junk’ room, and you can get it out and put it on your table after they leave.

Me: “NO WAY. If they don’t like it . . . blah, blah, blah (you can use your imagination for the “blah, blah, blah”). DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT TOUCHING ANY OF THAT STUFF.

The few times she HAS messed with the stuff (she doesn’t any more), we’ve “lost” bills and other time sensitive stuff.

In fact, there’s a piece that I wrote years ago that I wanted to use as a template for a Front Page blog. It was on my table but fell victim to one of her “Just let me put some of that stuff in a box, we can put it in the ‘junk’ room, and you can get it out and put it on your table after they leave.” utterances.

She has no idea where she put it, nor do I.

I know EXACTLY where everything is on my table that I need. I could find it blindfolded (except of course those things that Lynn, GodBless’r, has “cleaned up”).

My table and it’s clutter is essential to our survival. DON’T MESS WITH IT! I also have all the counters, the coffee table, and the kitchen table filled with clutter. DON’T MESS WITH ANY OF MY “TABLES”.

While I DO have a safe deposit box at the bank and a fireproof safe in the house, my tables are the center.

[quote=“BobJam, post:14, topic:46015”]
I embrace CLUTTER.

I spend a good deal of my time in my recliner (not necessarily by choice, but more because of handicap). Beside it I have a table. That table not only has things that are of immediate use, it is my “filing cabinet” for important things:

I know where everything is.

For example, down below that pile of papers topped by my earphones is a blue folder that holds my living will, power of attorney for my son, and also my last will. I have in fact communicated with him that the papers he will need on my expiration are “on the table beside my chair, in a blue folder labeled ‘will’, and THAT folder is at the bottom of the stack of papers on the table”. I’ve also told my daughter and sister the same thing.

My wife will frequently say, “We need to clean up your table” . . . especially when she knows there’s company coming over.

Me: “NO, WE DON’T. If they don’t like it . . . blah, blah, blah (you can use your imagination for the “blah, blah, blah”). DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT TOUCHING ANY OF THAT STUFF.

She’ll say, “Just let me put some of that stuff in a box, we can put it in the ‘junk’ room, and you can get it out and put it on your table after they leave.

Me: “NO WAY. If they don’t like it . . . blah, blah, blah (you can use your imagination for the “blah, blah, blah”). DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT TOUCHING ANY OF THAT STUFF.

The few times she HAS messed with the stuff (she doesn’t any more), we’ve “lost” bills and other time sensitive stuff.

In fact, there’s a piece that I wrote years ago that I wanted to use as a template for a Front Page blog. It was on my table but fell victim to one of her “Just let me put some of that stuff in a box, we can put it in the ‘junk’ room, and you can get it out and put it on your table after they leave.” utterances.

She has no idea where she put it, nor do I.

I know EXACTLY where everything is on my table that I need. I could find it blindfolded (except of course those things that Lynn, GodBless’r, has “cleaned up”).

My table and it’s clutter is essential to our survival. DON’T MESS WITH IT! I also have all the counters, the coffee table, and the kitchen table filled with clutter. DON’T MESS WITH ANY OF MY “TABLES”.

While I DO have a safe deposit box at the bank and a fireproof safe in the house, my tables are the center.
[/quote]BobJam, thanks for making me lol at 3:45 a.m.! (though my immediate neighbors might not thank you) If I had a digital camera, I would take a picture of the table next to my chair. (Like you, I’m obliged to spend more time there than I would like.) It’s one of those big trays with legs on only one side, and it slides. One corner of it is now so laden that it is dipping dangerously low, and even casual visitors to my apt feel compelled to warn me that “that table is about to either break or tip over.” yeah, I know.

I’m surprised at how decisively clutter and multitasking are whomping order and serial tasking in this forum. Of course, I don’t think many of you actually followed the link, harrumph!! Nevertheless, the results of this little impromptu election are decisive–to me, somewhat surprisingly so.

In my youth, there WAS a time that I was a neat-freak. I have long since disabused myself of that severe character and behavior disorder, though.

Years ago, when I was in the OSI (“Office of Special Investigations”), I had a ritual I went through every morning to clean my desk. I was anal about it, and also a “neat nik”.

I’d come in in the morning and first remove the clear lucite cover on my desk. Then I’d remove all the papers displayed under it, like one with important phone numbers, a cheat sheet on how to format reports the “OSI way”, etc.

Then with a wet rag I’d wipe down the cleared desk surface.

Then I’d replace the papers meticulously, lining every one up north and south and perfectly oriented . . . like you would straighten a picture on a wall.

Finally, I would place the clear lucite cover back over the papers (after wiping it down, of course), but if it so much as altered the placement of the papers a millimeter, I would remove the cover and start the straightening all over again.

I was so anal about this that my office mates would always gather round and watch the ritual with grins on their faces.

(DIGRESSION NECESSARY TO UNDERSTAND THE STORY: The office was in the desert . . . Edwards Air Force Base . . . so we had a “swamp cooler”. For those that don’t know what a swamp cooler is, it’s an “evaporative cooler” that simply blows air over water soaked pads and by virtue of the evaporation of the heavily laden water soaked air, it cools the space.

They are very efficient in arid climates, and a lot less costly than Air Conditioners since you don’t need to power a compressor motor. etc.

However, they don’t work very good in a humid climate. For example, you wouldn’t use one in, say, Florida, but you would find it very effective in certain areas of desert in Southern California.

But, once you get around 115 degrees F, like it does here in Arizona nine months of the year, they lose a lot of efficiency. We have AC, and most up here do. A lot of people up here, though, use a swamp cooler to cool their garage. END DIGRESSION)

Anyway, back to my desk cleaning ritual. It was spring when this happened, and it was beginning to get uncomfortably warm inside. Of course, you don’t need to use a swamp cooler in the milder months, so it just sits dormant during that time . . . the blower unit and the pads are mounted on the roof.

With the high winds and blowing sand in the desert, the unit becomes full of sand. So, the first time you turn it on for the season, it blows a big cloud of sand at first. (See where this is going?)

An office mate said something about it being hot, and of course I was perspiring because of my ritual activity, so he said, “Hey, why don’t we turn on the swamp cooler?”

I should have noticed the giggles of the group and known what was going to happen, but I was too focused on my ritual.

So, I said, “Yeah . . . good idea.” I had just finished with my desk cleaning when it was turned on. Out from the vent came that cloud of sand and it landed on my desk. Wild laughs from the peanut gallery.

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Bobjam, you, me, and everyone else who was in the military were neat-freaks due to outside compulsion…

When I was in a college dorm, I had the reputation for the neatest room in the area. All of my siblings found that difficult to believe.

And about my missing 1099s, I was able to download two of them from the internet, and sent a message to get a replacement for the other one - suggested they send it email if possible. I still don’t remember doing anything with them, but it does seem strange that all three of them - and nothing else, to my knowledge, is missing. After I get the third one and send in my tax rebate form, I’ll probably find them, and it’ll probably be something like, Oh, yeah, now I remember putting them there. Only it seems I’ve looked everywhere that I might possibly have put them, and some places I’d never even think of putting them.

A fellow I used to work with had a reputation for a cluttered desk (but he could always find what he was looking for). One day the department manager declared a clean-up day to make the department look cleaner. Now, this was a computer programming department, and a lot of the clutter was green-bar paper. Well, George removed a stack of green-bar paper about two or three feet high; the lady in the cubicle next to him looked in and said, “I don’t see any difference.”

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I use a working folder labeled “taxes” and throw everything in there I collect for filing taxes. I have a folder for unpaid bills and one for paid bills. One of those expanding files with different pockets would work too.