A recent commenter took me to task on my blog post The Female Brain Still Juggles All the Balls about research indicating that women may have an edge over men when it comes to multitasking. The commenter “Multitask” wrote that it was untrue that women were better. He gave three examples of male superiority.
- male grandmaster chess players who play “… several games at a time …”
- male gamers who “…coordinate a lot of events.”
- hunter males“…they too have to do a lot of things like diversion, preparing, ambushing, bonding, premeditating a murder of rival, while chasing the food target. “
I beg to differ. The grandmaster chess player, gamers and hunters are using brain skill-sets based on working memory. Memory skills naturally increase with training and experience resulting in higher quality performance. These male examples actually show forethought and planning, single minded focused concentration and memory skills, but not multitasking.
“Multitask” states it’s not that men don’t like to multitask but women are better at it because they are more talkative. Huh????
True, there is research showing that girls begin talking earlier then boys and have larger vocabularies. But, boys do catch up.
If the implication is that talking plus performing another task at the same time is multitasking – yes, that is correct, but men are just as capable of performing this multitask.
I think what Multitask is missing is that multitasking at the same time is something the brain does not perform well. There is divided attention and neither task will be performed efficiently or effectively. While research indicates that the brain can become more skilled at processing and responding to incoming information, there still remains a switching back and forth between the two tasks.
Women juggle the balls better because they’ve gained experience in dealing with a greater variety of tasks. Their multitasking become more efficient with the experience they gain from such demanding tasks of being an income earner, wife, mother, chief cook, house cleaner, finder of lost items, pet walker, PTA member, car-pool driver, and cheering coach etc. etc.
Please don’t get me wrong “Multitask” men juggle too. But, as you said “…men don’t like to multitask not because they can’t multitask…”
Well, I guess us women will just keep on getting better at juggling all the balls.
Who knows, maybe one day there will be a grandmaster level to compete for.
Please feel free to comment … this could ready get lively.
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