What is multi-tasking?
Holding two or more goals in mind at the same time; updating goals based on new information; switching between them;
What 3 subdivisions of the PFC are involved in multi-tasking and what function does each perform?
- Anterior Cingulate: central role in error detection and avoidance. Also involved in integrating emotional responses, motivation, attention, and anticipation of tasks.
- Frontopolar cortex: maintaining multiple task goals at the same time—frontopolar cortex manages the secondary task, thereby freeing up the rest of the pfc to focus on the primary task
- DLPFC: broad range of executive functioning tasks (including shifting attention, sustaining attention, selective attention, task switching, and inhibitory control)
Is multi-tasking good or bad?
Neither. We’re a judgment free zone. It is something that people do. However, it’s worth noting that while people may have the belief that they are skilled at multi-tasking and thereby more effective / efficient because they’re doing multiple things at once, performance on the component tasks is generally worse than if they were done separately and requires increased effort (which is to say that even though it’s true that people can become better at it, they are generally not as good at it as they think they are). Ok. So what we’re really saying that is that it’s bad. You think it’s good, but it’s not.