Scatterbrains

The model of the modern mind, it seems, is one that can attend to many things at once, effortlessly picking up new tasks as completed ones are dropped. This new-and-improved kind of mind features an agile attention that is almost entirely without inertia, dancing nimbly upon flickering streams of incoming data without fatigue or failure.

My mind isn’t like that. I can only think effectively about one thing at a time, and furthermore I don’t think I’m really all that different from anybody else. I’ve always thought that people who pride themselves on their “multitasking” are actually operating at a rather superficial and mediocre level.

According to an article published a few weeks ago in the Times, it turns out I’m right. Learn more here.

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5 Comments

  1. JK says

    What a relief ! Now I’m actually looking forward to the next class reunion. I’m gonna make enough copies of that article so that every single person gets one. I’m fuhrreeeeee !

    I only wish I could’ve earned passing grades in etiquette school.

    Posted October 21, 2009 at 12:40 am | Permalink
  2. Kevin Kim says

    So when people say “Women are better multitaskers than men…”

    Posted October 21, 2009 at 2:37 am | Permalink
  3. RJ says

    Thanks for posting this, Malcolm. I often have prided myself on this “ability,” and have enjoyed the increased levels of adrenaline (and sometimes panic) that invariably accompany it. But as you point out, most of the time the results are indeed mediocre or superficial. I do recognize that in the society in which we live it’s unavoidable at times, but certainly not the best mode of operation!

    Posted October 21, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Permalink
  4. Charles says

    I thought this was pretty much common knowledge. I guess I was wrong.

    Posted October 21, 2009 at 9:11 pm | Permalink
  5. youcantpronouncemyname says

    Honestly, I wish that computer science courses were taught one at a time, even at an accelerate pace. I think I would have learned the subject better.

    Posted October 22, 2009 at 12:42 am | Permalink