"Attention, multitaskers (if you can pay attention, that is): Your brain may be in trouble" writes Adam Gorlick of the Stanford Report. According to communication professor Clifford Nass, multitaskers are "suckers for irrelevancy." That's the claim that Stanford researchers are investigating in a recent study that compares media multitaskers with... um... non... media... multitaskers. Whatever that means. Although this study is riddled with confounding variables, such as inherent personality traits, the basic question behind it is sound, which is whether you really multitask, or you just spend less time doing any one thing. The early assumption was that people who multitask must have extraordinary skills in concentration, working efficiently in different capacities and compartmentalizing tasks in their brains. The research suggests that the opposite may be true, and that multitaskers don't have mental abilities superior to those of non... multi... yah... hopefully by now you're asking yourself the same question I am, which is "What is the definition of media multitasking, and what arbitrary criteria have been established for who's capable of multitasking, or who's good at it?" It's a safe bet that the 100 people in the sample self-identified whether they were either frequent multitaskers or not.
I'm going to conduct my own observational experiment right here. I don't have scientific equipment flashing obnoxious visual cues for you, and your answers will be based on real-world experiences, and I contend that it is because of those reasons (and not despite) that my methods are no less valid than those of the Stanford study. Will you help me with it? I need 100 people to report in the comments 1) how you "multitask" and what that means to you, and 2) whether you find that it increases or decreases your mental capacity.