Everywhere you look, you see people trying to do two or more things at once. Despite evidence to the contrary, 70 percent of people think of themselves as good at multitasking. Yet numerous studies tell us this simply is not true.
Frequent Multitaskers Are Bad At It
The headline above is taken from an article on research conducted by the University of Utah. What they found was that we grossly exaggerate our capabilities.
About 25 percent of the population can do two or more things at once successfully. Surprisingly, these people are the least likely to multitask. Why? Because they understand the importance of focusing on one thing at a time. They get it. The rest of us, unfortunately, think more highly of our abilities to multitask. We just don’t get it.
Using a cell phone while driving is a perfect example of multitasking. We all do it. And we all think more highly of our ability to do it successfully. According to the University of Utah research report cited above:
“The more people multitask by talking on cell phones while driving or by using multiple media at once, the more they lack the actual ability to multitask, and their perceived multitasking ability ‘was found to be significantly inflated.’ In fact, 70 percent of participants thought they were above average at multitasking, which is statistically impossible.”
We Have Met The Enemy, And He Is Us
As riders, we constantly encounter distracted drivers. It’s not just cell phones causing the problem. More car manufacturers are adding distractions for the driver, from text messaging to internet connectivity. More opportunities for “multitasking.”
Unfortunately, car manufacturers aren’t the only culprits. Indian Motorcycles recently introduced the new Ride Command system for 2017 Chieftains and Roadmasters. A full “infotainment” feature, the seven inch touchscreen will be the largest in the industry. A marvel of technology at your fingertips.
I wasn’t very enthusiastic when I saw this announcement. Do we really need to read incoming text messages while riding? Do we need those multitasking distractions?
You might say “yes!” Oh right, I forgot. As riders, we’re better at multitasking than most drivers are. We’re in that 70 percent “above average” group.
Seeing Is Believing
Mark Twain once said, “facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.” So, forget about the distracted driving statistics (despite the mountains of data.) Forget too your personal opinions about multitasking (where we are all above average.) Let’s look at a factual example.
This is called the Stroop Effect test, and I think you will find the results interesting. I will admit to having taken this test a few times; with disappointing results.
On the other hand, it helps to know your limitations. Use this knowledge to stop trying to multitask. And spread the word by sharing the Stroop Test with others.