Friday, October 7, 2011

On the Myth of Multitasking - Argument

My argument that multitasking (as I define it) is a myth, apart from being based on research by people who know a lot more than I do about the human brain and such, is not a watertight argument. It is merely an experiential argument.

I believe true multitasking is a myth because I have never observed it. Sure, I have heard many women (and men) claim that (usually) women are able to multitask but (usually) not men. But I have never observed it or heard an example from anyone else observing it, even in women. Circumstantial evidence never convinces me that even women can consciously carry out two or more tasks at the same time. Sure, certain women (or men) may be able to 1) have one or more tasks going on subconsciously or 2) quickly switch back and forth between two or more tasks that all require conscious attention. But I remain unconvinced (only due to lack of evidence) that anyone can consciously carry out more than one task at a time.

To explain myself a bit more, consider a common example: driving. One may be driving, talking on the cell phone, and putting on a seat belt/applying makeup/ all at the same time. This is very dangerous. Why? Because the brain is probably concentrating only on the cell phone conversation. Due to practice and habit, the body can subconsciously carry out other tasks such as driving, putting on a seat belt, and applying makeup at the same time. No conscious thought is necessary for this. That is not to say conscious thought should not be applied. In the case of driving, lack thereof can result in death. And I do have evidence of people, including women, dying because they could not multitask while driving.

No one can multitask. So don't try it. Especially when driving.

I rest my case. Do tell me if I am wrong.

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