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The myth behind multitasking

Brittney Moore

Issue date: 2/16/10 Section: Student Life
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We live in a society where multi-tasking is the key to getting anything done. If you walk around campus you see students working on homework, while typing messages to their friends on Facebook, and listening to their favorite song on their iPod. It's natural to this generation and those coming behind us to work this way, however, we're not as good at multi-tasking as we would like to think.

According to Dr. Bill Kleim, a scientist and speaker as a professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M; University, "College students these days have short attention spans and have trouble concentrating," This occurs during the middle school age and progresses into secondary education. "At this age kids are really wrapped up in multi-tasking at the expense of focus."

Though many like to state that things such as music increase your focus factor when hitting the books, it may just make it less tedious while decreasing the attention we actually put into the subject matter.

Kleim explains that, "Our brain works hard to fool us into thinking it can do more than one thing at a time. It can't. Recent MRI studies at Vanderbilt (#3) prove that the brain is not built for good multi-tasking. When trying to do two things at once, the brain temporarily shuts down one task while trying to do the other."

While we can do things in close proximity, our brain delays actions and prioritize them according to what we focus the majority of our attention on.

A study was conducted in 2008 on high school students in California. The study surveyed 517 students and found those that interacted on social media sites, used instant messaging clients, and had cell phones, tended to have lower grades. 72 percent had Myspace accounts, 68 percent instant messaging addresses, and 76 percent had cell phones. With cell phones, the grades lowered even more when text messaging was involved.

It is known that high school habits can follow you through college. If you're lucky you can break them before you get placed on academic probation.
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