Multitasking Can Melt Your Brain

Scientists warn of dangers of doing too much at once
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2008 8:17 AM CDT
Multitasking decreases the ability to focus, at least among adults.   (Shuttterstock)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Multitasking isn’t as productive as you may think—in fact, our brains just can’t handle it. Scientists say working on many tasks at once slows all of them down, NPR reports. “No matter how good you have become at multitasking, you’re still going to suffer hits against your performance,” said one researcher, likening the effect to “a brownout in the brain.”

Whenever the brain switches tasks, he explains, the associations and thought processes developed for the previous task fade. Switching back then forces the brain to re-blaze those mental trails. “It goes on subconsciously and eventually, if I'm lucky, I get back up to speed with what I was thinking about before," he said. Another danger: Multitasking can be addictive. Your brain might “literally need a fix of multitasking," the researcher warned.