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Effects of Multitasking

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Annie Stephens

Grand Canyon University: UNV 104


Lauren Kelly

Effects of Multitasking

Clanking pots and pans with thumps of boiling water are daily noises of being a parent all while trying to prepare dinner and get kids’ homework completed. Parents become natural multi-taskers as they have multiple things to accomplish in a short amount of time. Parents are not the only people that are multi-taskers; high school and college students and multi-career people. Multitasking is not for everyone as it takes away from the singular task at hand. Effects of multitasking come down to cognitive resources one has, their ability or adaptability, and choice adaptations for the function of the task at hand.

Office workers generally change tasks about every three minutes and take several minutes to re-adjust to the primary task at hand. Taking the time to re-adjust to the primary task takes away valuable time in the completing the original task. Multi-tasking has become the primary way of life and juggling the motivation and concentration to complete a task with efficiency has diminished and rapidly decreases with the delay of electronic response in the workplace (email). Switching from one task to another is high when cognitive resources are available however it decreases the “optimum behavior” (Katidioti, 728-736). Katidioti provides evidence of the effects of multi-tasking and the results of behaviors correlating with the work environment. People tend to switch from their primary task to their secondary task only when cognitive resources are available. Having the cognitive resources to multitask will affect the successful completion of a project. Not only does it affect the completion but the results as far as a job well done. Understanding that brainpower is needed to complete multiple tasks at hand may alter the choice to multitask depending on the project and the importance of the project. Cognitive resources are not the only option in order to multitask. Learning how to multitask is an option.

Multi-tasking success or failure revolves around the cognitive resources available along with the concentration and interruption of the tasks. The ability to multitask is not a skill everyone holds however as people grow the adaptability in absorbing or learning how to multitask does increase. The effects of multitasking specifically targets pilots and assistants when looking at adaptability verse ability. In order to multi-task directly results from the ability and adaptability of oneself. B. Morgan, an author, held a simulated flight experiment to determine the ability verse adaptability of multi-tasking. Results were reported and those with higher IQs and better memory performed better than those that do not with the ability to multi-task. In order of adaptability of multi-tasking has everything to do with spatial manipulation rather than memory and smarts. This is a different view on multi-tasking as it looks at what does it take to have the ability and the adaptability to multi-task but it still relatable to the topic as it does outline the effects of multi-tasking. This leads to the question, is multitasking really necessary?

While multi-tasking, your brain may choose the task that is easier to accomplish rather than the more difficult task. Multi-tasking is a part of everyday life in all faucets of one’s life. It has spilled over all across the world however the effects of multi-tasking do make a difference in performance overall. People have realized the effects and have begun to alter their “choice adaptation” (Nijoeber, 8). People are choosing which task to put more energy into to have better performance results. Three separate social experiments were performed by Nijoeber to gain this conclusion. What is unique with the findings is how people adjust their priorities and effort put into the task in order to complete multiple jobs or duties at one time.



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