It’s an age old complaint that men are incapable of doing more than one thing at a time, so researchers decided to test the truth of the commonly held belief. They found that when women and men work on a number of simple tasks such as searching for a key or doing easy maths problems – at the same time, women significantly outperformed the men. Scientists believe that the results show that females are better able to reflect upon a problem, while continuing to juggle their other commitments, than men. Professor Keith Laws, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, who led the research, said: “We have all heard stories that either men can’t multitask or that women are exceptionally good at multitasking.”
He further adds, “But, there didn’t appear to be any empirical evidence for this. It was all based upon folklore and hearsay when I looked through the scientific literature.” Prof. Laws gave 50 male and 50 female students eight minutes to perform three tasks at the same time: carrying out simple maths problems, finding restaurants on a map and sketching a strategy for how they would search for a lost key in an imaginary field. As they performed the tasks, the volunteers also received a phone call that they could either chose to answer or not. If they did answer, they were given an additional general knowledge test while they continued to carry out their other activities. While women were able to preform well in all four activities at once, men performed, on average, worse when it came to planning to search for the key.
Professor Laws said: “Men are supposed to have better spatial awareness than women, so they should have outperformed the women on the map task and the key task. But, of all the tasks we gave, the key searching task also requires planning and some kind of strategy. Men tended to start their search in a less logical place such as the centre of the field and they would not cover the whole area when they were outlining their search, while women tended to enter in one corner and search in concentric circles or lines. It shows that women are better at being able to stand back and reflect for a moment while they are juggling other things.”
Courtesy – telegraph.co.uk