Multitasking: Fact or Fiction?

How many thinking tasks can your brain focus on at one time?

  • The answer is – one. If your brain has more than one thinking task to choose from, it gets overwhelmed and filters information out.

In terms distraction at the wheel, what’s the difference between chewing gum and talking on the phone?

  • Chewing gum is not cognitively demanding. You don’t have to think about it!

Would you want a surgeon who is operating on you to be buying something online at the same time?

  • I didn’t think so. Driving is a job that requires your full attention.

Watch this video:

  • Just like in the Monkey Business Illusion, if your brain is so focused on one task, it misses other events happening. Multitasking is a serious distraction to drivers.

If you take your mind off the primary task of driving – you may be “looking” but not “seeing,” and therefore miss important information in your driving environment. When people attempt to perform two complex tasks such as driving and talking on a phone, the brain shifts its focus and drivers develop “inattention blindness”.