U of U study shows self-proclaimed multitaskers worst at multitasking

Posted at 2:25 PM, Jan 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-27 16:25:14-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Most people know that texting and driving is dangerous, but a new University of Utah study shows that those who claim to be best at such multitasking are actually among the worst.

David Strayer, U of U professor of psychology, is one of the authors of the study. He said the study found that talking and driving, hands-free or otherwise, is just too tough for most of our brains.

“We’ve got a situation where we’re trying to do really too much with the mental hardware that we have, and in many cases, we don’t do it well,” Strayer said.

The study found that those who think they are good at multitasking do it the most but are the worst at it. 70 percent of the participants rated themselves as good multitaskers, which is statistically impossible.

“The people who don’t do it, oddly enough, probably would be better at doing it, but they have the self-awareness to know that even they aren’t good at it,” Strayer said.

Researchers said the study found no difference between men and women. They also said multitaskers tend to be more impulsive and sensation seeking.

The study was funded by the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety.