The harms of multitasking


While reading this blog are you watching TV? Talking with a friend? Listening to music?  Are you trying to get things done quicker through multitasking?  

Everyday we multitask without even realizing it.  When watching TV, maybe you are on your laptop doing a homework assignment or on your cell phone catching up with a friend.  How can we focus on so many tasks at one time?  We naturally think that doing multiple things at once will help us achieve our goals quicker, but we mentally cannot put the same amount of focus on more than one task. 

 “When you perform multiple tasks that each require some of the same channels of processing, conflicts will arise between the tasks, and you’re going to have to pick and choose which task you’re going to focus on and devote a channel of processing to it,” says David Meyer, a cognitive scientist at the University of Michigan. 

Meyer is the director of the Brain, Cognition, and Action Laboratory and has been at the forefront of research on how the brain processes information.  With his research, he has come to find that you cannot do two cognitively complicated tasks at once.  

Have you ever noticed when you multitask, you find yourself not remembering anything you read or saw? That’s because you may be seeing or reading something while doing another task but your brain is not processing any of that information.  It is only capable of focusing on one task.  



The graph above should be a little more shocking than it is.  Can you believe how many people attempt at doing so many things at once?  It states that 28% of people use their smart phone while playing a video game, I do not understand how somebody can be holding a controller for a video game at the same time as texting somebody.  

According to Douglas Merrill with Forbes, he explains that when people multitask, they are actually wasting their time.  Sure, you might be getting certain tasks done quicker but you will not retain any of the information when you try to multitask. 


When thinking of multitasking, I never thought of it as being a big deal.  Everybody chews their gum while talking or folding their laundry while talking on the phone.  Things like this are simple tasks.  However when people take it as far as to do their make up while driving or reading a book while talking to a friend, these tasks just do not seem to work out.  

I have heard from so many people that women are supposed to be amazing at multitasking.  Where do people get this information? I personally am terrible at doing two things at once, I end up saying the words I am reading and reading the words I am saying!  Sure, some women may be exceptional at this, some even call it a hobby, but the majority of us are not as talented.  

It makes me nervous thinking about the future generation.  People already take advantage of multitasking, what will people do ten years from now? How do you think people will implement multitasking in the future generation? 



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How self-disclosure affects our everyday lives

Self Disclosure & Trust in relationships 

Self-disclosure is defined as the process of making the self known to others; the telling of the previously unknown so that it becomes shared knowledge (Jourard and Lasakow 1958: 91).  It can be shared in romantic relationships, friendships, or basically any relationship involving pairs.

 According to the article, Self-disclosure, privacy and the Internet, it explains some important benefit’s self-disclosure has to offer.  Trust is one of the main value’s that self-disclosure has to offer.  Self-disclosure strengthens the ties that bind people together in numerous kinds of relationships.  In romantic relationships especially, self-disclosing offers a sense of mutual agreement between the pair.  When in a relationship, you need that gained trust to be able to move forward.  Another important value self-disclosure brings to relationships is legitimizing group memberships and strengthening group identity.  When you reveal certain information to a group of people, you are creating an identity for yourself and therefore trusting the group to accept you.  Personal growth is a common outcome of honest self-disclosure.  



Social media becoming brain candy

According to a study done by Debroah Netburn from Harvard University, she explains why it is necessary for social media users feel the need to disclose any and all information on their everyday lives.  She goes on to explain the findings of an experiment that she and other researchers conducted. “The act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same sensation of pleasure in the brain that we get from eating food, getting money or having sex,” Netburn states.  It is very clear that typing something on the computer does not physically feel the same as the examples she provided, however the science makes it clear that self-disclosing provides a rewarding experience.  

A separate study was created by Diana Tamir to determine the excitement of social media use including Facebook, Twitter, etc.  The study watched participants brain activity when they were asked to talk about themselves via social media and to talk about somebody else.  Of course, when people were able to talk about themselves their excitement level increased.  

Researchers also found that these participants would turn down a small amount of money to talk about somebody else because they would rather talk about themselves.  Somebody with 700+ Facebook friends feels a sense of pleasure when sharing a story because in their mind they think the audience cares about their personal story.  However, most people with this amount of Facebook friends personally know less than a third of them.  Why would somebody who has never met you want to hear about the multiple stories shared on a Facebook page; they will most likely continue to scroll their page until something catches their eye.  



I admit it, I too love the social media world; I hope to eventually work with social media in the future.  Casually enjoying social media and providing too much information via social media are two different concepts.  There have been countless times where I scroll through my Facebook or Twitter newsfeed and think to myself, “Why are you sharing this story with everyone?” 

Disclosing subtle information is acceptable, for example sharing that you have gotten a new job or accepted into a particular university. Sharing every little detail about romantic relationships or arguments that have occurred in a friendship is not exactly what people want to be reading.  

I do however, think it is great when relationships become stronger by personally self-disclosing (outside of social media).  Trust is a huge factor in a successful relationship and without it, it will be difficult to maintain a healthy relationship.  


In your personal lives, do you ever read the lengthy posts by Facebook friends that you have never met?  Do you feel that it is necessary to read them or care about what they say?  If not, why don’t you just unfriend them so it gets removed from your newsfeed? 


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