Business World

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Humans incapable of multi-tasking -- even women

Steve Connor

The human mind may be inherently incapable of dealing with more than two tasks at a time according to a study showing that "multi-tasking" skills are limited by the physical division of the brain into two hemispheres.

Scientists have found that when people have to carry out two tasks simultaneously their brains divide each job up so that one is performed largely by the left side of the brain and the other mainly on the right.

The study suggests that this basic division of the brain into two halves may explain why human beings tend to prefer a simple choice between two options rather than three or more. It might even explain why the Liberal Democrats, as the third British political party, find it hard to get a look in at general elections.

Sylvain Charron and Etienne Koechlin of France's National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris, discovered the way the brain divides up two simultaneous tasks. They asked 32 volunteers to carry out two different mental puzzles while their brains were being scanned by an MRI machine.

"One task was to pair upper case letters and the other task was to pair lower case letters together. "It was a very simple task and the subjects had to switch back and forth between them," Dr Koechlin said.

"The two hemispheres co-operated when there was only one task. But in two tasks, one hemisphere covers the reward of one task and the other hemisphere covers the reward of the other."

And, contrary to popular belief, they found no differences in multi-tasking skills between the sexes, meaning no excuses for men from now on. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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