A Stanford study on multitasking performance, published in August and sited in NRC this weekend, showed that frequent media-multitaskers perform less when having to focus on multiple information sources than typical non-multitaskers. This can be explained by assuming that the typical media-multitaskers are actually not good at focusing or concentrating on a task at hand. They basically cannot choose the relevant information sources. Surprisingly the media-multitaskers group indicated to be quite good at handling the different information sources, while the actual results of the study show otherwise.
“We kept looking for what they’re better at, and we didn’t find it,” said Ophir, the study’s lead author and a researcher in Stanford’s Communication Between Humans and Interactive Media Lab.
At the same time, companies are requiring their people to be tuned in to more and more information sources, like email, mobile and even twitter while the research shows it to be counterproductive.