I’m a big fan of Psyblog, a well-trafficed blog from the United Kingdom that examines recent research findings from psychology.
A while back I read this interesting post about attention and multitasking:
Every day we we are bombarded with perceptions, ideas and emotions and what we choose to pay attention to shapes our lives, it makes us who we are.
Attention is one of the most fascinating and highly researched areas in psychology. Psychologists have found that with training we can perform impressive feats of multitasking, we can divide our visual attention (without moving our eyes) and we are surprisingly effective at picking out just one voice from a multitude.
Seems like when I was a college student I did pretty well at listening to the prof and taking notes at the same time. But it wasn’t always easy. The most difficult experience was my quantum mechanics course at UC Davis when I was an undergrad. The professor wrote equations non-stop on the board while he simultaneously explained them. That was the one class I actually tape recorded, in cahoots with my roommate and pal Sid Taylor. We focused on getting the equations down on paper, and then later we would listen to the recording and try to figure what the hell those equations meant.
I’ve found that I don’t multitask much these days, especially when working on a textbook ancillary. I need to give it my full attention.
Enjoy the Psyblog post, which is actually a listing of several related articles, with links.
And how well do you think college students multitask, whether in the classroom or when they’re listening to their ipods while doing homework?