Thursday, January 6, 2011

TECHNOLOGY - Better Wired Brains?

"Is Technology Wiring Teens to Have Better Brains?"
PBS Newshour 1/5/2011

Excerpt from transcript

MILES O'BRIEN (Newshour): It is seductive, no matter what the age, but is it efficient? Can we really multitask?

Well, yes, with a caveat.

MARCEL JUST, Carnegie Mellon University: We can do it, but at tremendous cost. You can't do two tasks as well as you can do each one separately.

MILES O'BRIEN: Neuroscientist Marcel Just is doing some groundbreaking research on the human brain at Carnegie Mellon University.

So, we pay a big penalty for doing more, two things at once?

MARCEL JUST: That's right. There's only so much brain capability at any one time, throughput. And you can divide it down as much as you want to, but the price will be even higher then.

MILES O'BRIEN: Like driving and talking on the phone. A few years ago, Just did a study on this. His conclusion? Even an idle conversation takes a 40 percent bite out of your brainpower. You might as well be drunk.

So, multitasking is not a myth, but efficient multitasking might be?

MARCEL JUST: Yes. Multitasking with no cost is a myth. I think there's no free lunch there.

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