ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
70°
Partly Cloudy
H 86° L 66°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    70°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 86° L 66°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    81°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 86° L 66°
  • clear-day Created with Sketch.
    82°
    Evening
    Sunny. H 86° L 66°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

Health
Are those who multitask most the worst at it?
Close

Are those who multitask most the worst at it?

Are those who multitask most the worst at it?

Are those who multitask most the worst at it?

Next time you see a driver talking on the cell phone and looking confident, you might want to change lanes.

People who often talk on cell phones while driving may think they are experts at such multitasking, but they are typically not, says researcher David Strayer, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Utah.

In this case, Strayer and his colleagues found practice does not make perfect, or even close to it.

"The people who multitask the most seem to be the worst at it," he says, citing his study results. The study is published in PLOS ONE.

However, another expert who has studied the effects of distraction takes issue with the finding. It may only suggest that people who are more intelligent don't talk and drive, as they are aware of the risks, says Erik Altmann, PhD. He is an associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University.

Multitasking: Who's Good?

Strayer measured the multitasking ability of 277 college students. 

He used a test that involves two tasks. The students had to remember a series of two to five letters. Each of the letters was separated by a simple math equation ("Does 2+4=6?") that they had to decide was true or false.

The students also ranked themselves on multitasking ability. They gave themselves a score, from zero to 100, with 50 termed average.

"Eighty percent said they were at or above average at multitasking," Strayer says. That's statistically impossible.

He jokes that it's akin to thinking they live in Lake Wobegon. That is the fictitious town of humorist Garrison Keillor, where the kids are ''all above average." 

Students self-reported their multitasking, including cell phone use while driving. They also reported multitasking with media such as word processing and Web surfing.

They completed questionnaires that measured their impulsivity and sensation-seeking behaviors.

Multitasking: Study Results

Students who reported most often talking on the cell phone while driving actually scored 20% lower on the multitasking test than did those drivers who talked on the cell phone the least, Strayer says.

"Those who did the best on the multitasking test tended to talk and drive the least," he says. "They have the self-awareness of their own human limitations to realize it's not safe to talk or text and drive."

Strayer found certain behaviors more common among the frequent multitaskers. "The people doing it the most tend to be impulsive, sensation-seeking, and overconfident in their ability to do that," he says. "It validates your worst nightmare."

Impulsivity was related to overall multitasking, but not to talking and driving. Strayer says that indicates cell phone use in a vehicle is a deliberate choice.

Multitasking: More Perspective

Altmann of Michigan State takes issue with the test used to gauge multitasking. "It is purely a test of working memory capacity that happens to correlate very highly with IQ," he says. "It may or may not reflect multitasking ability."

"They may only show that someone who is smarter doesn't use the cell phone as much when they drive," he says.

Strayer, in response, says that the test is valid, one of many ways to measure multitasking. "It basically does measure the ability to juggle two tasks with different goals at the same time." 

The self-reporting of cell phone use is another limitation of the study, Altmann says, as it may not be accurate.

SOURCES: Sanbonmatsu, D. PLOS ONE, published online Jan. 23, 2013.David Strayer, PhD, professor of psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.Erik Altmann, PhD, associate professor of psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing.

© 2013 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • Multiple people had to be rescued early Saturday morning in Rogers County. OTEMS paramedics report a boat started to sink on Oologah Lake just after midnight. “Additional information was received that the boat had its nose in the air, four individuals were in the water, and only one was wearing a PDF (personal flotation device),” an official said. “A Rogers County Deputy spotted what might be the boat south of Winganon Bridge but was unable to determine the precise location. However it was located by the Northwest Water Rescue unit and at 0048 hours the rescue boat reported that it had located the victims and was loading the fourth individual into the boat.” KRMG’s told the victims were hanging onto the hull when they were found. So far, no injuries have been reported.  Officials also haven’t released any names.   We do know the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has taken over the investigation.  
  • Tulsa investigators are looking for a driver who fled the scene, after hitting a male pedestrian late Friday night. Police report the auto-pedestrian collision happened around 11:34 p.m., near East Admiral and North Yale. “The pedestrian victim has been declared deceased at this time,” police said.   Investigators don't have a description of the driver or the car.  Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.
  • We know this might start an argument, but according to Business Insider, Oklahoma's most famous band EVER is the Flaming Lips. Business Insider admits the song 'She Don't Use Jelly' is the Norman-based indie rockers only U.S. hit. But they say the band has had many hits in the U.K. and Europe and, even more impressive, three Grammys to their credit. Some on the list are hard to argue with, like Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band in New Jersey or Nirvana in Washington State. You can see the entire list of the most famous bands here.
  • You thought your dog was ugly. The World's Ugliest Dog Contest is celebrating man's best friend's perfect imperfections in California on Friday. The pooches - many of which are adoptable or previously adopted - will face off in a red carpet walk and 'Faux Paw Fashion Show,' organizers said. The contestants are judged on first impressions, unusual attributes, personality and audience reaction. A blind Chihuahua-Chinese Crested mix named Sweepee Rambo bested 16 other homely hounds in last year's competition and waddled away with $1,500, a trophy and a flight to New York with her owner, Jason Wurtz, for media appearances. The then-17-year-old champion proved that third time's the charm after falling short in the competition twice before. By celebrating inner beauty, organizers said they hope to showcase that all dogs, regardless of physical appearance, can be lovable additions to any family. Contest rules prevent owners from intentionally altering their animals to enhance appearance for the purpose of the contest. These pooches are celebrated for their natural ugliness, organizers said.
  • With strong bipartisan support from both houses of Congress, President Donald Trump on Friday signed into law a plan to make it easier for the Veterans Affairs Department to get rid of employees for poor performance or misconduct, all in an effort to improve veterans health care and other services. “We’re taking care of our veterans and we’re taking care of them properly,” said the President, as he signed the bill at a White House ceremony. “Those entrusted with the sacred duty of serving our veterans will be held accountable for the care they provide,” Mr. Trump said. President Donald Trump on the VA accountability bill: 'This is one of the largest reforms to the VA in its history' https://t.co/NXXQ4plpBk — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 23, 2017 New legislation was needed from Congress mainly because previous efforts to make it easier to fire employees at the VA had become bogged down in the courts, even preventing the VA from getting rid of people like the former head of the Phoenix VA health care director, where a health care scandal broke out in 2014. “We won’t be able to accomplish any of the reforms we need to in the VA if we don’t get the right people in place,” said VA Secretary David Shulkin, who with the support of the President, has pressed ahead with internal changes. Shulkin said this new law would “make it easier and quicker to hold our employees accountable.” .@SecShulkin of @DeptVetAffairs joins @POTUS 4 signing Veterans Affairs Accountability & Whistleblower Protection Act pic.twitter.com/Yf3MsFZLbr — Sean Spicer (@PressSec) June 23, 2017 Among the changes in the bill: + A streamlined VA process to fire, suspend or demote workers for misconduct or poor performance + The Secretary would have the power to reduce the pension of a VA worker if that person is convicted of a felony crime that influenced their job performance + The VA would be allowed to claw back bonuses given to employees who are later found to have engaged in misconduct The new law also includes provisions to protect whistleblowers from retaliation inside the VA, and gives greater authority to the VA Secretary to fill top positions more quickly inside the VA health care system. “As you all know – all too well – for many years, the government failed to keep its promises to our veterans,” Mr. Trump said, saying “we are just getting started” on major changes to the VA, one of his central campaign promises in 2016.