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The Gender Wars On Multitasking

Topics: Current Events

This news isn’t really news. Recent research has concluded that women are better than men at multitasking.

(Photo Credit: Donald Lee Pardue/Flickr)

The UK study published in the journal BMC Psychology is not attempting to insult or put down men. The authors acknowledge that both men and women strive during the course of their busy days to keep up with multiple responsibilities and cope with their priorities.

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One finding was that men’s performance falls with each additional task added at the same time. In other words, a man will perform two tasks simultaneously better than he will perform three.

Women, on the other hand, do not generally suffer from decreased performance as more tasks are added to their list of things to do.


It seems that men get more easily distracted by too many things happening at once. Women, on the other hand, are better able to answer the telephone and have a conversation while continuing to juggle their tasks. Men are more likely to put the other tasks aside and focus only on the telephone conversations.

One interpretation of these findings is that women are better able to ponder issues or reflect on problems while they are dealing with other responsibilities. Men are more likely to wait until other things are finished before they reflect, or they may put off tasks in order to ponder.

Who Cares?

It is possible that taking these personal differences into account may affect workplace policies. If managers recognize that not all employees can perform well with high levels of distraction or while juggling multiple tasks at a time, it may affect how they organize the work environment. Some employees may have much to contribute, but need a quieter workspace and a logical progression for tasks.

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How well do you multitask? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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