Stanford researchers who put about 100 students through a series of tests conclude heavy media multitaskers don't perform as well as low multitaskers. The researchers found that high multitaskers are always drawing from all the irrelevant information in front of them and can't keep things separate in their minds.
High-tech jugglers are everywhere – keeping up several e-mail and instant message conversations at once, text messaging while watching television and jumping from one website to another while plowing through homework assignments.
But after putting about 100 students through a series of three tests, the researchers realized those heavy media multitaskers are paying a big mental price.
"They're suckers for irrelevancy," said communication Professor Clifford Nass, one of the researchers whose findings are published in the Aug. 24 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Everything distracts them."