That's the message from researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles who found that when we learn something while doing something else, we use an area of the brain called the striatum.
By contrast, when we focus, we engage the hippocampus, associated with forming, and retaining, conscious memories and creative connections.
The problem with striatum-based learning is that it tends to be inflexible. Which means you're okay if everything always goes to plan but when the unexpected happens – and when does it not? – you'll have difficulty conjuring the knowledge needed to come up with a good alternative.
“Multi-tasking adversely affects how you learn,” said Russell Poldrack, UCLA associate professor of psychology and co-author of the study. “Even if you learn while multi-tasking, that learning is less flexible and more specialized, so you cannot retrieve the information as easily.”
More details of the study: here
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