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So you really can pay attention to two things at once? Really?!

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Michy
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So you really can pay attention to two things at once? Really?!

Post by Michy » Sat September 18th, 2010, 2:43 am

I caught a snippet of this program on NPR in my car today on my lunch break. Then after reading something someone posted here about being able to read and watch TV at the same time, I decided to put the link here in case anyone wants to try these two simple tests. They're quite fun and a little amazing, too. On the first one, I got both answers correct. :) On the second one, I got the first two answers but missed the second two. :( Sherlock I am not, I guess!

http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/201009172

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ejays17
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Post by ejays17 » Sat September 18th, 2010, 4:56 am

Seeing as i was the one who posted sbout reading / watching TV at the same time, i thought I'd try this too!

I got both the answers in the first one, and missed one in the second one. So not too bad, i think. It's an interesting experiment for sure!
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Vanessa
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Post by Vanessa » Sat September 18th, 2010, 11:17 am

Well, I didn't see the first one, but did in the second one but missed other bits. So obviously I can't pay attention to two things at once. That's probably why I can't read two books simultaneously! I get confused. :rolleyes:
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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Sat September 18th, 2010, 2:25 pm

I did see the thing in both videos, but got the number wrong both times, although I was much closer to the correct answer in the second video, and I didn't spot the other two things in the second film at all!
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Post by fljustice » Sat September 18th, 2010, 3:31 pm

Thanks, Michy, that was fun. I had the exact same experience as Madeleine. I regularly listen to NPR while I surf the net, but realize it's just noise in the background. I occasionally remember a piece, but I have to pull my attention away from the computer to concentrate on the story. When I write, I can't have anything with "language" going on around me, including music with words in English. Instrumental music and lyrics in non-English are fine!
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Post by Tanzanite » Sat September 18th, 2010, 4:01 pm

ever since I was a child I've been able to read and watch TV at the same time - and I can pay attention to both. i can also read the newspaper and carry on a conversation with my husband which annoys him to no end - but I can tell you about what I was reading and the husband is always amazed at how much of our conversation I can relate back to him (to prove I was paying attention). I have noticed as I've gotten older it's harder for me to read and follow a TV show with more complicated plot lines (like Lost or Heroes) but for you average show or sitcom, it's still seems to work.
Last edited by Tanzanite on Sat September 18th, 2010, 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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parthianbow
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Post by parthianbow » Sat September 18th, 2010, 5:59 pm

I read recently of a large scale study which proved beyond doubt that people are not able to perform multiple tasks as well as they can when doing only one. For me, it nailed many nails in to the coffin of the commonly held theory that women 'can' multitask, while men 'can't'. Yes, some/many women (or men) can do several things at once, and some/many men (or women) can't, but those women (or men) can't do them well.

I can't find the recent study on the web, but there's more evidence than just the one I read:

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Human-Mu ... 4874.shtml
Last edited by parthianbow on Sat September 18th, 2010, 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: error
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Michy
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Post by Michy » Sat September 18th, 2010, 8:07 pm

The NPR segment where this test came from, was a fascinating interview with the author of a recent book on this topic. One of the interesting things he said is that we humans are not good at accurately judging how well we really are (or are not) paying attention. That is, we think we're paying attention to more than one thing at a time just as well as we pay attention to one thing at a time, but we really don't/can't.

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Post by Ludmilla » Sat September 18th, 2010, 10:19 pm

I remember hearing a segment on NPR about this, but it was at least a year ago. It interests me because technology and the gadgets that support it seem to be putting more pressure on us to multi-task, work with interruptions and noise with little tolerance for the need to focus on one thing at a time. I recognize that I just cannot do it as well in my fortysomething years as I did in my twentysomething years. Makes you wonder what is going to happen to the white collar workforce as we get older (which is definitely a concern where I work).

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Sat September 18th, 2010, 10:56 pm

Ha! This makes me remember back in high school, how I used to re-write my final drafts of essays/stories/whatever for English classes (for you younger folks, this was back in the prehistoric pre-computer days, and we were all to poor to own our own typewriters, either. So everything was hand-written! :eek :) in the morning before first period, while sitting at a table in the crowded, noisy library. I would talk to my friends while writing, and literally not be paying attention to anything I was writing, but manage to get it right without mistakes! Wonder if I could do that now? :confused:

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