Article

Think You're Multitasking? Think Again

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Abstract

Video: On The Lunch Hour Swinson anchors the morning and lunch rush at the Tastee Diner in Bethesda, Md., where the menu ranges from pancakes to burgers. And note the lack of tickets: All orders are placed verbally. Raz, N et al. in Neurobiology of Aging Shown in red, the frontal lobe houses the "executive system" of the brain; it decreases in volume as we age. This region helps the brain decide which tasks to focus on and when to suppress irrelevant information. Click to see a Listen Now [7 min 49 sec] add to playlist Morning Edition, October 2, 2008 · Don't believe the multitasking hype, scientists say. New research shows that we humans aren't as good as we think we are at doing several things at once. But it also highlights a human skill that gave us an evolutionary edge. As technology allows people to do more tasks at the same time, the myth that we can multitask has never been stronger. But researchers say it's still a myth — and they have the data to prove it. Humans, they say, don't do lots of things simultaneously. Instead, we switch our attention from task to task extremely quickly. A case example, researchers say, is a group of people who focus not on a BlackBerry but on a blueberry — as in pancakes. Diner Cook: A Task Master To make it as a short-order cook, you must be able to keep a half-dozen orders in your head while cracking eggs, flipping pancakes, working the counter, and refilling coffee cups.

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... More information on their behavior will likely not change this reality. Over the last 20 years, popular media and academic research have repeatedly said people cannot and should not multitask (Burkus, 2018;Hamilton, 2008). Yet if the last decade has shown anything, it is that guilting users for their high-frequency media behaviors does not reduce these actions. ...
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Frequent task-switching between communication media is ubiquitous. Recent research on the topic highlights that multiple dimensions compete to predict task performance and productivity while multitasking. However, the emotional impact of task-switching is understudied and is an important outcome for understanding communication technology use and its potential effects on people’s well-being. This research used ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to gather task-switching and emotional data in real-time through a smart phone application. The emotional effect of the task control multitasking dimensions was assessed via a structural equation model. Results show attitudes toward task-switching moderate emotional valence, but arousal increases with frequency of task-switches. Furthermore, attitudes toward task-switching do not predict frequency of task-switches, contrary to assumptions made in previous research and indicating a loss of control of task-switching behaviors.
... Miller, a Picower Professor of Neuroscience at MIT, says that, for the most part, we simply can't focus on more than one thing at a time (seeHamilton, 2008). 6 Among the other seminal authors who have written about structural dissociation are Richard Chafetz, Elizabeth Howell, Shelly Itzkowitz, Richard Kluft, Richard Lowenstein, Ellert R. S. Nijenhus, Kathy Steele, Onno Van der Hart, Na'ama Yehuda, and many others. ...
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... In the current connected generation, many take pride in their ability to multitask, surfing online while at the same time holding a conversation with a coworker and text messaging a friend. Psychologists report that true multitasking, the ability to pay attention to two cognitively demanding tasks concurrently, is a myth (Hamilton, 2008). Those who seem adept at multitasking are merely adept at rapidly switching their attention from one task to the next although all the tasks inevitably suffer from a lack of focus. ...
Article
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to describe and recommend reading as a nursing intervention for agitated patients with anoxic brain injury. Design: The design of this study is a case report of the results from reading to an agitated patient with anoxic brain injury. Methods: Observation of the effects of reading to an agitated patient. Findings: Fifteen minutes of reading to an agitated patient during the evening hours had a calming effect. Conclusions: Reading to agitated patients is an additional nursing intervention with little risk and represents efficient, patient-centered care. Clinical relevance: Reading is a successful nursing intervention that has a calming effect on agitated patients.
... Even when we are not actively trying to multitask, environmental information may distract us from the task at hand and cause us to multitask. It is no surprise, then, that there has been a recent surge of interest in understanding multitasking by both the public media (Hamilton, 2008) and the scientific community (Dux, et al., 2009;Neider, et al., 2011;Ophir, Nass, & Wagner, 2009). ...
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... A simple online multitasking activity is also available to demonstrate the concept for projects (http://billiondollarsolution.com/multitasking.html). To contrast the cultural definition, we invite students to listen toHamilton (2008)and the humorous Sharp (2008), as well as to play the online game " Multitask " (http://www.kongregate.com/games/ IcyLime/multitask). ...
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I n recent decades, the project-scheduling practice known as critical chain project management (CCPM) has been successful in industrial applications, yet remains a subject of disagreement among scholars and is only sporadically taught in business schools. The purpose of this paper is to assess what aspects of CCPM are appro-priate in operations courses, whether dedicated project management classes or broader introductory operations management classes. To answer this, we survey academic literature on traditional project management problems that gave rise to CCPM to understand if these issues are real. We also examine whether the CCPM methodology should, according to scholars, correct these problems, and survey project success stories attributed to CCPM. We conclude that CCPM is an appropriate project management methodology for student consideration on the basis of motivating critical thinking—especially about behavioral issues—rather than on formal scientific proof of its merit. In so doing, we survey teaching resources as well as articles in the trade press on the subject. We then present a sequence of numerical practice problems that are designed to motivate further critical reflection about CCPM. Throughout are a number of open questions about CCPM that the academic community has not yet answered and that instructors should keep in mind.
Chapter
Conflict is challenging, and factors such as cultural lens, emotions, power dynamics, and social capital influence how, why, and if you will respond. In an environment where getting along is expected, people can feel internal or external pressure to acquiesce so as not to rock the boat. Avoiding conflict and difficult conversations to get along can manifest into stress, anxiety, and other emotions that can make being productive and happy in the workplace difficult. There may be no way to make conflict feel good, but there are things that can be done to make conflict less painful. This chapter will analyze why conflict and difficult conversations can be challenging, offer advice on how to make the conversation more bearable and productive, as well as when it is ok to avoid it all together.
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Purpose Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Radiation Oncology Education Collaborative Study Group (ROECSG) hosted its annual international symposium using a virtual format in May 2020. This report details the experience hosting a virtual meeting and presents attendee feedback on the platform. Methods and Materials The ROECSG Symposium was hosted virtually on May 15, 2020. A post-symposium survey was distributed electronically to assess attendee demographics, participation, and experience. Attendee preference and experience were queried using 3-point and 5-point Likert-type scales, respectively. Symplur LLC was used to generate analytics for the conference hashtag (#ROECSG). Results The survey was distributed to all 286 registrants with a response rate of 67% (n=191). Seventeen non-attendee responses were omitted from this analysis, for a total of 174 respondents included. Forty-seven percent (n=82) of attendees were present for the entire symposium. A preference for a virtual symposium was expressed by 45% (n=78) of respondents, while 25% (n=44) had no preference and 30% (n=52) preferred an in-person meeting; 86% (n=150) of respondents rated the symposium as “extremely” well-organized. Respondents who had not attended a prior in-person ROECSG symposium were more likely to prefer the virtual format (p=0.03). Respondents reported a preference for the virtual platform for reviewing scholarly work (n=78, 45%) and an in-person platform for networking (n=103, 59%). On the day of the symposium, #ROECSG had 408 tweets and 432,504 impressions. Conclusions The 2020 ROECSG Symposium was well-received and can serve as a framework for future virtual meetings. While the virtual setting may facilitate sharing research, networking aspects are more limited. Effort is needed to develop hybrid virtual/in-person meetings that meet the needs of participants in both settings. Social media is a significant avenue for dissemination and discussion of information, and may be valuable in the virtual setting.
Chapter
Multitasking has become surprisingly present in our life. This is mostly due to the fact that nowadays most of our activities involve the interaction with one or more devices. In such a context the brain mechanism of selective attention plays a key role in determining the success of a human’s interaction with a device. Indeed, it is a resource to be shared among the concurrent tasks to be performed, and the sharing of attention turns out to be a process similar to process scheduling in operating systems. In order to study human multitasking situations in which a user interacts with more than one device at the same time, we proposed in a previous work an algorithm for simulating human selective attention. Our algorithm focuses, in particular, on safety-critical human multitasking, namely situations in which some of the tasks the user is involved in may lead to dangerous consequences if not executed properly. In this paper, we present the validation of such an algorithm against data gathered from an experimental study performed with real users involved concurrently in a “main” task perceived as safety-critical and in a series of “distractor” tasks having different levels of cognitive load.
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This paper presents the results of a study of first-year engineering students and their perceived ability to multitask while in class. Students are now exposed to numerous sources of electronic distraction such as text messages, instant messaging, email, and web browsing which are now all conveniently available on their smart phones or in other portable electronic formats. The results of this study between a control group (students without any e-tasking opportunities) and a cohort group with freedom to e-task during class showed statistically significantly lower content retention scores amongst the e-taskers. In addition, there was a statistically significantly lower self-reported perception of their knowledge retention as compared with the control group. Recommendations on how to handle e-taskers and strategies to deal with the Net generation of students we now see in our classrooms are presented and reviewed.
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Online education is an increasing part of US higher education, both in hybrid (mixed classroom and online) and in fully online courses. Online courses present some different demands than face-to-face courses do. This presentation will suggest ways that participants can prepare students for success in the online environment. OUTLINE Characteristics of online classes – fully online and hybrid Common fallacies Digital natives Multitasking Chat-speak Privacy Role of the advisor Do's for students Have good time-management skills – this will help more than anything else Read the course description and weekly assignments carefully Post early in discussions Look back later to see what others (and the teacher) have said Use good grammar and spelling in class posts Cite your sources! Email the teacher with questions Don'ts for students Don't wait until the last minute Don't use chat-speak in class posts Don't think that you can copy and paste (plagiarize) without getting caught Don't be afraid to ask for help References Allen, I.E., Seaman, J., and Garrett, R. (2007). Blending in: The extent and promise of blended education in the United States.
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