Multitasking Isn't New

Brian X. Chen sorts out the mass of studies claiming our interactions with the internet are damaging our brains:

[Neuropsychologist Vaughan] Bell points out that multitasking is hardly a problem of the digital age -– we’ve been doing it all along. We can dribble a basketball while running, jot down notes while listening to a lecture, and jog through the park while listening to music.

“If you think Twitter is an attention magnet, try living with an infant,” Bell said. “Kids are the most distracting thing there is, and when you have three or even four in the house it is both impossible to focus on one thing and stressful, because the consequences of not keeping an eye on your kids can be frightening even to think about.”

(Kids are indeed distracting: A British study found that for drivers, the distraction of squabbling kids can slow down brak-reaction times by 13 percent as much as alcohol.)