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Phoning impairs execution

New insights support singletasking




Being involved in a telephone conversation reduces speed and quality of the response substantially. Our ability to make the right decisions is affected particularly. This means in detail: phoning still does make us altert and oriented, the execution of successful measures falls short, though, according to a reduced amount of information which can be processed in such a multitasking scenario. A recently published British study emphasizes this based on 2 subsequent and interdependent experiments. So previous insights and conclusions where singletasking is strongly to be preferred in case of complex tasks get additional support.

The researchers refer in their paper predominantly to the usage of mobil phones during driving.

Gunnell/Kunar/Richards/Watson, „Telephone conversations affetct the Executive, but not the Alerting or Orienting Network”, in: Journal of the Experimental Psychology: Applied. 2022, vol. 28, nr. 2, 249-261.

From the practise:

In any office there are lots of comparable situations where it is definitely not a good idea to make a call in parallel: meetings or while controlling of performance and/or data. This British study demonstrates: even if you realize and localize developing dangerous dynamics in front of you you will not take the necessary steps in the familiar quality. OR let me put it like this: as long as you do not interrupt and stop your call you will make easily make false decisions, put inadequate reactions in place or deliver non-helpful messages towards your employees or participants of your meeting. Singletasking is doubtlessly not only a matter of the respective code of conduct, but a path everyone should go to guarantee better results during complex challenges.

No, it is not an old hat, it is still highly accurate: no phone when it really matters.

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