When Deresiewicz looks at the research around multitasking, things become interesting,
“A team of researchers at Stanford wanted to figure out how today’s college students were able to multitask so much more effectively than adults. How do they manage to do it? The answer — they don’t. The enhanced cognitive abilities the investigators expected to find .. were simply not there. In other words, people do not multitask effectively. And here’s the really surprising finding: The more people multitask, the worse they are not just at other mental abilities, but at multitasking itself.
The researchers found that multitaskers are worse at every kind of cognitive function. “They were worse at distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant information.. they were more easily distracted. They were more unorganized, unable to keep information in the right conceptual boxes and retrieve it quickly. And they were even worse at the very thing that defines multitasking: switching between tasks.”
Deresiewicz continues, “Multitasking, in short, impairs your ability to think. Thinking.. requires concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea of your own… My first thought is never my best thought. My first thought is always someone else’s..
From here Deresiewicz goes on to talk about concentration, attention and the importance of solitude...