Don’t multitask while you read this
“In a world of computers and iPhones, it’s rare that we’re fully focused,” said Alan Castel, a UCLA professor of psychology. But how much do all of those distractions diminish our ability to remember? A new study led by Castel and Catherine Middlebrooks, a UCLA graduate student, found that while divided attention does impair memory, people can still selectively focus on what is most important — even while they’re multitasking. -The University of California, Los Angeles.
In one experiment, the researchers showed 192 students 120 words, divided into six groups of 20 words each. Each word was visible on a computer screen for three seconds, and each was paired with a number from 1 to 10. Researchers explained to the students that they would receive scores based on the point value of each word they remembered, making the words with high point values “more important” than the others. – The University of California, Los Angeles.
The participants, all UCLA students, were assigned to one of four groups: One group gave the task their undivided attention. For the second group, researchers played audio of a voice reading numbers from one to 9 while students were viewing the words and their numeric values; students were told to press the space bar on their computer keyboard every time they heard three consecutive odd numbers. – The University of California, Los Angeles.
(Having to juggle those two tasks proved very distracting: Each participant heard eight sequences of three odd numbers, but on average, they identified only 1.87 of the eight.) A third group of participants heard familiar pop songs by Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga and Rihanna while they viewed the words. And a fourth group was asked to watch the words while listening to pop songs they hadn’t heard before. – The University of California, Los Angeles.
After each set of 20 words, participants were asked to type as many of the words as they could remember. The researchers calculated a total score for each student after each set of 20 words based on the number on the screen when each word appeared. So, if they remembered the word “twig,” which appeared on screen at the same time as a 10, and “corner,” which appeared with a 6, the participant would receive 16 points. The researchers then repeated the process for each student five times, taking them through all 120 words. – The University of California, Los Angeles.
The scientists found that the primary gathering of members — the individuals who saw the words and numbers without any diversions — reviewed a normal of eight words from each arrangement of 20, while the individuals who were occupied by listening for back to back odd numbers reviewed a normal of only five words. The two gatherings of understudies who tuned in to music while watching their screens recalled the words nearly and in addition the gathering of undistracted understudies.
In any case, the researchers likewise found that multitasking did not influence understudies’ capacity to review the data they were told was most critical — the most astounding quality words. Members in every one of the four gatherings were about five times as prone to review a 10-point word as they were to recollect a one-point word.
“Everyone reliably organized the high-esteem words and moved their consideration towards those,” said Middlebrooks, the examination’s lead creator. “They all went to the acknowledgment that they expected to recall what is the most important, despite the fact that some were diverted and some weren’t.”
The specialists set up a moment, comparable explore different avenues regarding 96 different understudies — demonstrating every member six arrangements of 20 words, each with a numeric incentive from 1 to 10, yet this time changing the diversions.
Once more, one gathering of understudies saw the words with no disturbances. However, for the other three gatherings, the specialists played a progression of tones: one gathering was advised to distinguish whether each tone was the same as the past one, another was advised to demonstrate whether two tones played in a steady progression were a similar pitch or not, and the last gathering was advised to recognize each stable as piercing or low-pitched.
As in the main trial, understudies who weren’t occupied recollected a normal of eight words from each arrangement of 20. The individuals who were occupied by alternate errands recollected a normal of around five out of each 20 — and the data they overlooked had a tendency to be the “less essential” words. Members in each of the four gatherings were again about five times more inclined to review a 10-point word than a one-point word.
“The information are clear in demonstrating that with partitioned consideration, we don’t recall to such an extent, however we are as yet ready to concentrate on what’s most vital,” Castel said.
The analysts additionally found that understudies’ capacity to recollect data enhanced as the investigations advanced: In the two examinations, understudies in each of the four gatherings for the most part recalled more words by the 6th round of 20 words than they did in the primary set.
Middlebrooks suggests that individuals who are considering or adapting new data maintain a strategic distance from diversions however much as could be expected.
“All is likely not lost in case you’re once in a while hindered by a content or in the event that somebody adjacent turns on music while you’re contemplating,” she said. “Our reality is loaded with enticing diversions, and we appear to adjust by being specifically engaged.”
Source & Credit @ UCLA. Link to original article is HERE.