I think a lot of people are familiar with the right/left brain split on a general level so I will not go into so much detail on that but I recently read a book where the author(a neuro-psychologist/scientist that dealt with mental disabilities) found that in a novel situation most people used their right brain to interpret and organize information but as skill and proficiently increased they were transferred more to the left side of the brain, which increased efficiency and proficiency by making sort of a template( he called it wisdom..the book was called the "wisdom paradox").
I read that book too. In addition, there was also a slight preference towards moving to the back of the brain rather than the front, which some other people have attributed to introversion over extroversion. Perhaps ENPs exhibit the preference for multi-tasking even more based on your theory Aimahn.
One of the reasons the left (and somewhat back) regions are associated with "wisdom" is because those areas of the brain last longer into old age and can be relied upon even when neurons are dying off faster than being replenished.
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I think multi-tasking compared to concentration compares well with animal reaction compared to thought. It is easy to multi-task things that require routine and little constant conscious thought and can bear interruption for immediate response. Women are supposed to be better at it than men but that is a comparison involving 'traditional' roles where women have often had several things going at once, none of them requiring constant attention or much thought while men have been in work that either requires constant attention but little thought on an assembly line or dedicated concentration in a 'profession'.
I don't believe that a female surgeon is any more capable of performing while conducting a conversation than a male, though she may be better at commenting on what she is doing simply because girls grow up less discouraged from talking about themselves. On the other hand, a professional team sportsman could be said to be multi-tasking if the detailed parts of what is involved in team sport are all treated as individual but integrated functions.
It is easy to multi-task activities that don't require much conscious attention. We do it all the time, unlike President Ford, most of us can walk and chew gum at the same time and even hold a phone conversation as well. We can't so easily drive through a city negotiating a contract on one phone and asking directions on another while discussion physics with a passenger and listening to a radio lecture on archeology.
Hmm...multitasking has been labeled one of my strengths at work, and I don't think the quality has been sacrificed as a result, as I've also been cited as having high quality!
I actually find I can be most energized at work when I suddenly have a lot of things that I'm having to juggle. It's like my mind has to go into hyperdrive and it keeps things interesting. Almost like my mind has more clarity all of a sudden and I can calculate the fastest way to get things done -- but not sacrificing quality. BUT while this can be exhilarating for me, it can also be quite draining.
I don't know...it's an interesting question. I think the quality question will depend on the type of work involved, and also how 'perfect' you want the results to be -- i.e. minimum necessary to meet requirements/needs, or going above minimum and putting in extra touches that might not *really* be necessary.
What type are you?
I ask because some INTPs and ENTPs say they do better when they are multitasking.
All of which is as much as to say, Ne, according to MBTI definitions, is tailor made for multi-tasking. So ENP's would naturally be good at it - better at it in fact, than its opposite.
Do you mean multitasking as in having multiple projects going at once, or in physically having one hand type out a report while the other hand does something else while you're on the phone having an important conversation?
I really don't think anyone is better at multitasking than single-tasking unless they are so ADD that the pressure to focus on one thing overwhelms their ability to do so.
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I'll have to get back to you on that one. I'm at a disadvantage because of having not enough things to concentrate on at the moment, so I'm unable to give this thread proper thought.
(edit - though I jest, it's not actually far from how I often feel in RL... need to be under pressure and bombarded to feel like kicking my brain into gear - one thing alone is too easily either dealt with, postponed or delegated, really not worth coming out of 'coasting' mode for)
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I think the difference doesn't necessarily have to be as grand and ambitious as I think you're making it out to be. For example the other day me and my dad were sort of talking through a project my mom had to do in her Bio-Informatics course(getting her masters), his method was more extracting the bare essentials of the project and sort of creating a working functional model, I on the other hand needed to sort of do a lot of cross-referencing and questioning in order to proceed.
He would state the bare programming concepts needed to complete the project, Id question the fundamental robustness and future implication of each concept. I would constantly relate it to some real life situation "hmm..sort of like password generators, so that would be really handy to have a high level of math knowledge, how would this program be built in a real life situation, how do you vary user interfaces in a school situation versus at a place like NASA...etc" I need those sort of tangential thoughts and ideas in order to be consistently interested and productive where as he is perfectly capable and in fact excels where he can tune in and sort of explicate the bare minimum and maximize efficiency. In a research situation this is much more pronounced, my work cited is usually pretty extensive and that doesn't even include some of my theories conversations and little snippets of information I've gathered elsewhere.
The multi-tasking is not complete chaos I try and have some relevance between things or at least develop a process where I can switch off pretty seamlessly. To sort of borrow a phrase that is used often in describing similar processes I need to sort of unify disparate information to maximize my personal capabilities.
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Multi-tasking is better for me as I can't concentrate on one project at a time through to completion. Need variety and pace.
Originally Posted by bluemonday
Yep, I can multi-task. For example, I'm currently replying to you, ironing about 3 years worth of ironing, singing, dancing and drinking, all at the same time. I can't vouch for the quality of the ironing...or the singing....the drinking is good tho'....
Multitasking I would think would always threaten the results but I think it's a poor use of the word. Multitasking is doing more than one thing at once where as most of the time people are actually asking you to multithread. The two terms are used in describing how processors work on computers, in case you're wondering where I'm getting this from, and the difference is that multithreading is doing only one task at a time but effectively doing part of that task, then picking up another task and doing some of that, then perhaps a third task before completing the first one and so on. In such a way it is possible to maintain the quality of the work but it does require you to be able to put things on hold and keep the information in the back of your mind whilst doing other things.
The successful technique is best exemplified by how you put a computer to sleep, where it stores all of what it's doing (it's current state) into the memory and then effectively suspends any further activity. Okay perhaps hibernate would be more appropriate but meh.