By TERRY SMALL
What is the No. 1 Brain Myth? Multitasking.
Reading emails, sorting data, and talking on the phone all at once clearly saves time in a crazy busy world. Or does it? Is multitasking even possible for your brain? Neuroscientists say no.
Here is a remarkable story about the myth and dangers of multitasking:
Dec 29, 1972 seemed like a great day to be flying.
Eastern Airlines Flight 401 was making its final approach to the Miami Airport.
The captain, Robert Loft, noticed something wrong. The landing gear had been put down, but the indicator light was not on.
Puzzled by this, the captain took the plane up again to have a look. No explanation. The first office was called in to have a look. Still nothing. The engineer was called in. No explanation. There was a jet mechanic on board. He was asked to look. Still no explanation.
Everyone was looking at the light bulb… and… no one was flying the plane. Lower and lower it went.
Captain Loft’s last words were, “Hey. What’s happening here?”. Five seconds later the plane crashed into the Everglades. 99 people were lost.
Flight crash investigators determined that the crew was so focused on the light bulb that their brains became unaware of their circumstances.
As it turned out it was just a burned out US$12 light bulb.
The aviation industry calls this “Controlled Flight into Terrain”. And it happens fairly often.
Most of us don’t fly planes, but we do lots of other things that require our full attention. Listening, studying, driving and operating machinery come to mind.
Multitasking can lead to task saturation for your brain. This can be inefficient at best and dangerous at worst.
I will share a follow up Brain Bulletin on this important topic to you in a week. I will share some very interesting facts and findings that will cause you to rethink multitasking.
Remember: “You are a genius!”
Enjoy your brain.