The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, shows that whether or not someone is good or bad at handling multiple tasks at once has nothing to do with gender.
The study, conducted by researchers from RWTH Aachen University (RWTH), sought to examine the long-held belief that women were better at multitasking than men. To this end, a team of scientists led by Patricia Hirsch from RWTH worked with 48 men and 48 women.
The participants, who had an average age of 24, were made to accomplish letter or number identification tasks and they were tested on their ability to do different types of multitasking:
During testing, the scientists measured reaction time and accuracy among the male and female participants. The results revealed that multitasking was difficult for both genders and that there was no significant difference between their multitasking abilities.
Hirsch and her team found that multitasking causes “substantial performance costs across all experimental conditions” regardless of gender. They stated that this was true even when “controlling for gender differences in underlying cognitive abilities.”
The findings contradict the popular belief that women are better at multitasking than men. Hirsch explained that many people think women are better than men at multitasking due to “an evolutionary advantage and extensive multitasking practice resulting from managing children, household and jobs.”
Two previous studies have shown that most people believe that gender differences in multitasking exist. Around 80 percent of the participants from these two studies believed that women had better multitasking abilities than men. (Related: Are men and women that different? Scientists find clues in brain development that say YES.)
The RWTH study, however, seemingly disproves these common stereotypes.
Regardless of your gender, multitasking is a crucial one. Follow the tips below to improve your focus at work and deal with different tasks efficiently.
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