Think multitasking helps you? Dr. Gloria Mark says no

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“I’m great at multitasking,” some people say. But does leading a harried existence of constant interruptions, shifting our attention when the boss calls, or when a client needs “just a minute of your time,” or when the spouse or kids need you right now have a cost? All of these interruptions shift our focus, tear us away from what we’re doing. Individually, changing focus seems minor, just another part of modern life, but researcher Dr. Gloria Mark says interruptions add up and they’re stripping away our ability to have sustained focus. Dr. Mark, prolifically published psychologist and University of California‚Äôs Chancellor Professor of Informatics, has recently published Attention Span. Among her research findings is that the average attention on any screen was two minutes, 30 seconds in 2004. It was 75 seconds in 2012. In the last five to six years, it’s 47 seconds.

Are you still with me?

Listen in to hear more about her findings and what kinds of hope she sees for our ability to focus.

We know from decades of laboratory research that when people shift their attention [there’s a] correlation between the stress as measured on heart rate monitors and attention shifting… We also know people make more errors when they switch their attention.

Gloria Mark

About Doug Dangler

Current: Host of Craft on WCBE, 90.5 FM, central Ohio's NPR station. Former: creator, host, and producer of Writers Talk
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