MUSICIANS ARE BETTER MULTI-TASKERS
Curated from PSmag.com – by Tom Jacobs –
Are you aware of this research from Canada which finds trained musicians more efficiently switch from one mental task to another?
We all call it “multitasking,” but psychologists insist that’s a misnomer. Since we can’t actually focus on more than one thing at a time, the skill is really “task switching
“—the ability to alternate smoothly and easily between two sets of mental tasks.
New research from Canada suggests one group of people is able to do that better than the rest of us: Trained musicians.York University psychologists Linda Moradzadeh, Galit Blumenthal, and Melody Wiseheart report musicians appear to have “superior ability to maintain and manipulate competing information in memory, allowing for efficient global processing.” To put it another way, their minds can efficiently process information from a holistic perspective.
After completing surveys measuring intelligence and vocabulary, all participants took part in a series of test measuring task-switching ability. In one, they were “required to track a moving white dot (while) at the same time, they attended to single capitalized serif letters flashing one at a time in the center of the computer screen. Participants were required to click the mouse button whenever they saw the target letter X.”
The researchers found musicians outperformed non-musicians on such tests, suggesting they have a stronger ability to “shift flexibly between mental sets.” Somewhat surprisingly, they found being bilingual did not give the same advantage.
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