Is Multi-Tasking Bad for Your Memory?

I’m not good at multi-tasking –  unless it involves folding laundry and watching television at the same time. If I’m doing anything more complicated than that, the results aren’t good. We know it effects focus, but is multi-tasking bad for your memory too? According to research studies, multi-tasking causes poor short term memory.

 Is Multi-Tasking Bad for Your Memory?

Here’s what happens when you try to multi-task.

Is multi-tasking bad for your memory?

Is multi-tasking bad for your memory?

Professor Russell Poldrack, a psychologist at the University of California, conducted brain scan research which found that doing something else while trying to learn, such as watching TV while doing homework, sends information to an inappropriate part of the brain. Instead of sending information to the hippocampus as it is supposed to, an area of the brain involved in storing and recalling information, the information is sent to the striatum, a region involved in learning new skills from where it is difficult to retrieve ideas and facts.

Here are some suggested coping strategies as well.

1. Focus on non-verbal cues when conversing with others

2. Try to be more aware of what you are thinking

3. Practice multi-tasking with simple tasks

4. Reduce multi-tasking in the afternoon after lunch when it’s more likely to cause overload

5. Meditate – brain scans of non-religious Westerners who meditate have shown increased development in the brain areas associated with attention and memory.

Here is the entire blog post.

I guess it’s a good thing after all that I’m not efficient at multi-tasking. I’ll just keep focusing on doing one thing at a time. After all, I don’t want the information to end up in the wrong place. What if it ends up in my toes?

What have you noticed about multi-tasking and your ability to remember things later? Share your comments.