Dr. Glenn Wilson, a psychiatrist at King’s College London University, monitored the IQ of workers throughout the day.
He found the IQ of those who tried to juggle messages and work fell by 10 points — the equivalent to missing a whole night’s sleep and more than double the 4-point fall seen after smoking marijuana. [Dr. Wilson did not originally make the comparison to marijuana. – eds.]
“This is a very real and widespread phenomenon,” Wilson said. “We have found that this obsession with looking at messages, if unchecked, will damage a worker’s performance by reducing their mental sharpness.
“Companies should encourage a more balanced and appropriate way of working.”
Wilson said the IQ drop was even more significant in the men who took part in the tests.
After reading all of this article, I understand this to mean “Multitasking plus squeezing more in equals a gradual failure in our ability to love & empathize with others.”
“Your Brain on Computers: Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price”
Matt Richtel, New York Times, published 6 Jun 2010
“[Scientists] say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information… While many people say multitasking makes them more productive, research shows otherwise. Heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information… and they experience more stress.”
I’ve been reading The Shallows by Nicholas Carr — that’s fascinating, as well.