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We all have one-track minds

As a person who can only do one thing at a time (if that), all I have to say is: HA!

BBC | Multitaskers bad at multitasking

The people who engage in media “multitasking” are those least able to do so well, according to researchers.

A survey defined two groups: those who routinely consumed [Ed. note: “consumed”?] multiple media such as internet, television and mobile phones, and those who did not.

In a series of three classic psychology tests for attention and memory, the “low multitaskers” consistently outdid their highly multitasking counterparts.

The results are reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. …

“If you look at classical psychology textbooks, people cannot multitask – but if you walk around on the street, you see lots of people multitasking,” [Cliff Nass] told BBC News.

“So we asked ourselves the question, ‘what is it that these multitaskers are good at that enables them to do this?'” …

[In tests of the ability to ignore irrelevant information, organize working memory, and ability to switch tasks,] “the shocking discovery of this research is that [high multitaskers] are lousy at everything that’s necessary for multitasking,” Professor Nass said.

“The irony here is that when you ask the low multitaskers, they all think they’re much worse at multitasking and the high multitaskers think they’re gifted at it.”

The pressing question that remains, Professor Nass said, is one of cause and effect: are those people with a dearth of multitasking skills drawn to multitasking lifestyles, or do the lifestyles dull the skills?

Academics always make everything so difficult. The answer is obvious: it’s the well-known, pathetically consistent, Dunning-Kruger Effect.

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64 Responses

  1. This reminds me of the phrase “Jack-of-all-trades, master of none.”

  2. Is it just me or does this describe Obamanation:

    1. Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill.
    2. Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others.
    3. Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy.

    • (that was from the Dunning-Kruger Effect link)

      • (I first heard about the Dunning-Kruger Effect on Car Talk. And, god, yes, does it ever apply to Mr-Must-Have-My-Blackberry, now that you mention it.)

    • Yep, sure does. To a tee.

    • It’s the Peter Principle on steroids.

      • I think it really proves the Peter Principle *wrong*. He said that in a hierarchy people rise to their level of incompetence. This seems to be an overly optimistic appraisal. In reality (and even in Obamanation, which is about as far from reality as one can get without risking a substantial prison term), people often rise far beyond their level of incompetence, which makes things *much* worse than the
        Peter Principle would predict.

        One could offer the hypothetical example of a lackluster community organizer without the requisite managerial skills to run a Dairy Queen becoming the leader of the free world, but it would be too far-fetched for anyone to believe.

        • I think you are right. Many people in Obamanation have risen to positions above their level of incompetence. I don’t think the author thought of our present scenario. The president is a prime example.

          The hypothetical example is difficult to believe, but unfortunately, truth is often stranger than fiction.

        • Lol! … in sort of a sad way.

          (But love your way with words, Propertius 😉 .)

        • One could offer the hypothetical example of a lackluster community organizer without the requisite managerial skills to run a Dairy Queen becoming the leader of the free world

          Honestly. Where do you get such bizarre ideas? 😯

  3. I’ve seen that Dunning-Kruger Effect so many times. It’s related to that most lovely combination of stupidity and arrogance.

    Of course I can do everything at once and perfectly because I”m captain super pirate avenger man. Where’s my cape. Oops, forgot to tie my shoes. Splat.

  4. The American media hard at work…

  5. Dakinikat, and other cat lovers,
    Meet: “Nora: Whose Piano Is It, Anyway?” Nora’s playing has become even more frequent and has evolved, as one can tell from viewing these new clips of solo as well as duet playing. The video also answers the question “What does Nora like to do when not playing the piano?”

  6. Smarty Pants dance

  7. Okay, so it continues to be the case that the WOMEN seem to have the guts to speak out on all the financial hanky-panky. We’ve had Sheila Bair trying to rein in the fraud, only to get slapped down by Timmeh. We’ve had Brooksley Born sounding the alarm that the crisis was coming, and being told to STFU. We’ve had Elizabeth Warren hammering on getting real with the fantasy asset sheets. And NOW a female judge in NY has called Bernanke’s bluff on transparency.

    A couple of reporters had filed a FOIA request to find our just WHERE our taxpayer TARP funds were going. The Fed tried to protect their bankster buddies, saying that releasing that info would cause harm to crucial banks, blah blah, blah…

    Judge Loretta Preska just told the Fed they were full of shit, and had no right to withhold that information from the pubic:

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge on Monday ruled against an effort by the U.S. Federal Reserve to block disclosure of companies that participated in and securities covered by a series of emergency funding programs as the global credit crisis began to intensify.

    In a 47-page opinion, Chief District Judge Loretta Preska of the federal court in Manhattan said the central bank failed to show that disclosure would cause borrowers in the Federal Reserve System to suffer “imminent competitive harm,” by stigmatizing them for using Fed lending programs.

    “The board essentially speculates on how a borrower might enter a downward spiral of financial instability if its participation in the Federal Reserve lending programs were to be disclosed,” she wrote. “Conjecture, without evidence of imminent harm, simply fails to meet the board’s burden.”


    • The Fed tried to protect their bankster buddies, saying that releasing that info would cause harm to crucial banks, blah blah, blah…
      😯 Smallest violin comes to mind…

      • Yup! Cry me a river for the banksters. “But, see, these banks are veddy veddy important, and must be protected from the adverse opinions that might result from the public knowing they were being bailed out…… and these veddy veddy important entities would suffer…..”

        And Loretta says, “EFF that, you have no proof of imminent harm, so THE PEOPLE have every right to know what the hell is being done with THEIR money. That the folks might get PISSED OFF at what they find out is not a legitimate reason to keep them in the dark.”

  8. For anyone following the Hutchison-Perry race:


    According to Bob, Perry’s mobile billboard — tweaking the senator as “Kay Bailout Hutchison” — arrived outside KBH’s event at the Tejas Logistics warehouse complex in Waco. About 20 minutes later, a squadron of semi trucks pulled up in the street and completely blockaded the Perry pranksters so the mobile banner couldn’t go anywhere or be seen from the warehouse.

  9. It’s a generalization, but in my work experience over time and across geos, women are better multi taskers than men, they have the same concentration abilities as men, and they do not over estimate themselves as much as men. Also, male scientists and academics too often go out of their way to affirm to themselves the superiority of their gender. They are not aware of their own chauvinism.

    • Along those lines, I’ve tried to imagine Hillary Clinton giving a stump speech on Day 100 of her Presidency assessing her own performance as the best the nation has seen since the time of FDR.. It’s a ludicrous exercise.

  10. Great post. I was convinced that multi-taskers were amazing b4 reading it….

  11. How to open a beer bottle in your hotel room without a bottle opener:

    1 ball point pen
    1 tile covered balcony railing

    Click the ball point pen to extend mode. Push ball point under crimped edges of bottle top at several points until vacuum is broken by soft hiss. Place crimped edges of bottle on the edge of the balcony railing and strike sharply downward on the bottle top. About 2 strikes should do it.

    Forget the folded paper and beer bottle with beer bottle method. We did an n number of experiments with those two methods with no resuls. The ball point pen-tile railing method worked successully on n=2 bottles.

    • LOL! Hope it is good beer!

      • Not particularly. But I crawled over an ocean of pahoehoe today and dammit, I’m going to drink. I’m frickin’ exhausted.

        • Haven’t had a chance to chime in yet, but you do know I’m wildly jealous, just like everyone else here, right? 😀

          I lived in Hawaii for years, and did a lot of field work on the Big Island. I *loooove* that place. How was the volcano? Did you get there at dusk, like you’d hoped? Pahoehoe is one thing. It’s the a’a you’ve really got to watch out for.

    • the bottom of a Bic lighter works too.

    • Your scientific research is great.
      And you get to enjoy the results.

      enjoy, enjoy, enjoy



  12. Well then, I hope the beer is really cold! Thanks for sharing your vacation, riverdaughter. Love the photos.

  13. This Is Why Bipartisanship Is A Scam
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5…h? v=509zjKb12ss

    The Young Turks hit the nail on the head here too.

    We have been SOLD OUT! CHANGE MY FOOT!

  14. This Is Why Bipartisanship Is A Scam

  15. Ted Kennedy just passed away at the Kennedy’s vacation home on Cape Cod.

    Rest in peace, Senator Kennedy.

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