Media multitasking irreversibly changes the structure of our brain

Do you know the situation when you turn on the TV or run a program on a laptop, and immediately pick up your smartphone and then only occasionally raise your eyes to the big screen? This condition is called "media multitasking", and the habit to it is already observed in 178 million people in the United States alone. In the understanding of psychophysiologists, it is considered a new behavioral problem, a deviation - because such a constant change of the object of attention has a detrimental effect on the functioning of memory and the brain.

Serious research has just begun, and the conclusions are still contradictory. Scientists are alarmed by the fact that the habit of working in a multitasking environment provokes structural changes in the brain. That is, from a habit, a new pattern turns into a way of life, which will no longer be easy to change. And is it even necessary? When the first radios began to appear in cars, many feared that the sounds would distract drivers. But today we see people talking on the phone while driving with a headset, and nothing terrible happens (but this is only true for a headset!).

On the other hand, patients with pronounced multitasking thinking fail tests on attention concentration, even in the mildest case, lagging behind by 8-10% of the norm. Many people develop degradation of their working memory - for example, they do not even try to remember a phone number or other short combination of numbers, but immediately write it down or copy it into the application. Where did I put this piece of paper a minute ago? Which of my colleagues came to my office, and who called, and what exactly did they want from me on that issue? Distractions become a serious problem, and they begin to interfere with the main work.

Studies have shown weaker development of the anterior cingulate gyrus in the brain of multitaskers than in ordinary people. And this immediately raises the question - did they acquire this property due to an initial physical predisposition or the habit of multitasking did not allow the brain to develop otherwise? There are no exact answers yet as to how this deviation arises. But the fact that multitasking should be avoided due to the risks of loss of concentration, scientists say unequivocally.