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Multi-Tasking ‘Makes Your Brain Smaller’

Multi-Tasking ‘Makes Your Brain Smaller’
Relief supplies being loaded onto MV Iloilovatu bound for Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa, in Lau on February 18, 2018. Photo: Nacanieli Tuilevuka
September 26
08:27 2014

If you are sending a text, watching the tv or listening to the radio, you may want to stop and give this your full attention.

Multi-tasking shrinks the brain, research suggests.

A study found that men and women who frequently used several types of technology at the same time had less grey matter in a key part of the brain.

University of Sussex researchers said: ‘Simultaneously using mobile phones, laptops and other media devices could be changing the structure of our brains.’

Worryingly, the part of the brain that shrinks is involved in processing emotion.

The finding follows research which has linked multi-tasking with a shortened attention span, depression, anxiety and lower grades at school.

Researcher Kep Kee Loh said: “Media multi-tasking is becoming more prevalent in our lives today and there is increasing concern about its impacts on our cognition and social-emotional well-being.”

He added that more research is needed to prove that multi-tasking shrinks the brain.

This is because it is also possible that people with less grey matter in the ACC are more drawn to using lots of gadgets simultaneously.

Scientists have previously demonstrated brain structure can be altered on prolonged exposure to novel environments and experience. Other studies have shown that training – such as learning to juggle or taxi drivers learning the map of London – can increase grey-matter densities in certain parts.

Experts have also warned of the harmful impact technology can have on our memory and attention span.

The University of California team commissioned a survey of more than 18,000 people aged between 18 and 99 and found 20 per cent had problems with memory.

Researchers were taken aback by the 14 per cent of 18 to 39-year-olds who also worried about their memories.

Multi-tasking with gadgets may shorten attention span, making it harder to focus and form memories, the researchers said, adding that youngsters may be particularly affected by stress.

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