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Multi-tasking can diminish concentration.

People who frequently multi-task--pay attention to several sources of information at once, for example by talking on the phone while watching television and working on the computer--are less able to concentrate than people who don't multi-task, a study shows. Investigators asked 262 college students with similar scores on IQ tests how often they multi-tasked. The researchers then tested the subjects' ability to perform tasks that involved cognitive control (the manner in which the brain directs attention, determines what is important, and allocates mental resources). Participants were asked to ignore blue rectangles while determining the orientation of red rectangles, and to switch between numbers-based tasks and letters-based tasks. Researchers found that frequent multi taskers had greater difficulty screening out irrelevant information and were slower at shifting attention between areas of focus than subjects who rarely multi-tasked.


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Title Annotation:NEWSBRIEFS
Publication:Mind, Mood & Memory
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2009
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