I’m sure you’ve tried it, maybe it is a standard modus operandi.
You have some big work project / assignment that needs to be completed yesterday, but you also want to watch your favourite TV programme or the big game. You know you should work, but the little voice inside is all miffed and whines “What about ME ?”.
So you hatch a plan to work next to the television. You tell yourself you will just watch the TV from the corner of your eye, so you can keep up.
You won’t watch from the corner of your eye
A study from Boston College confirms that watching TV from the corner of your eye, is still watching TV.
They placed volunteers in a room with a TV and a computer for 30 minutes and instructed them to use either device. Behind the scenes they had set up a fancy camera system which was able to track where the volunteers were looking.
The eye tracking revealed that on average, volunteers switched their eyes from the TV to the computer a staggering 120 times in 27.5 minutes. To put this figure in perspective, they switched devices every 14 seconds.
Overall the computer enjoyed the most eyeball time – capturing participants attention 68.4 % of the time.
PS. Age had nothing to do with the level of distraction. Old people (over 40s) and young people, flitted between devices in the same way.
Ignorance is bliss
The incredible thing is, that when questioned about their wandering eyes, most participants estimated that they had switched between the two devices about 15 times during the half an hour.
They proudly believed that the gaze switching had been intentional, so that TV was viewed whilst web pages were loading and the TV was ignored during TV advertisements.
You’re not a superhero multitasker
Multi-tasking in front of the TV is a myth. Bobbing you eyes backwards and forwards every 14 seconds is never going to be hugely productive.
I know it is tough, no matter how marvellous you think you are at multitasking – you aren’t performing at your best if you’re doing it.
Avoid driving your brain to distraction. Pick one or the other and execute.Media Multitasking Behavior: Concurrent Television and Computer Usage. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking (2011) doi:10.1089/cyber.2010.0350. S. Adam Brasel, James Gips. Sign up for the E-spoons E-zine to get a monthly compilation of the posts from 7 Big Spoons delivered to your inbox.
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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..