Are Women Better at Multi-tasking?

3 minutes

In this technologically advanced world with checking our emails, catching up with updated newsfeed and handling the deadlines at work, demands multitasking. Multitasking is doing more than one thing at a time or doing multiple things at a time. 


It is a common belief that women are better than men at multitasking. How true is this? This is actually a myth!! No one is better at multitasking. According to recent studies, collected by Tom Bartlett at The Chronicle of Higher Education, at least, no one multitasks well enough to make it more efficient than doing one thing at a time. During multitasking our brain switches between the tasks so rapidly that we feel as we are doing different tasks at the same time.

In reality, we actually pause one work and skip to another and then again switch back to the previous one. Researchers found that multitasking slows down the work and increases the number of mistakes.  However, some studies have also proven that people can be trained to multitask. 


There is a lot of research going on in this field. A study by psychologist Keith Laws was the first to report the first evidence of female multitasking superiority.  Sir Ken Robinson in TED Talk states that physical differences in male and female brains make women better at doing more than one thing at once. One study finds that women are better at switching back and forth between tasks; another study finds that men are better. Most research agrees on one thing: everyone is faster when they perform one task at a time. 


So if that’s the case then why do we still hear that women are better at multi-tasking? One reason could be the brain structure and the brain processing. The two areas which make a difference are Gray Matter and White matter of our brains. Male brains utilize more gray matter and female brains more white matter. Gray matter areas are information and action processing centres.White matter is the networking grid that connects the brain’s gray matter and other processing centres with one another. This brain-processing difference is probably one reason for what most of us might have noticed that is; girls tend to more quickly switch between tasks than boys do. This difference in the gray-white matter could be the reason to say women are great multi-taskers, and men excel in highly task-focused projects. 

Having said this we can conclude by saying that there is no sufficient research to back this up.
The science may still be in the process of finding facts. We can agree to this; focus and concentration on one task at a time is the key to success, irrespective of the gender. So put that cell phone aside while you are finishing your deadline today! 🙂

Sushma Hebbar

Sushma Hebbar is a Senior Psychologist at YourDOST. She is an experienced career psychologist with a Master's in Clinical Psychology. She has worked with clients of different age groups, dealing with a wide variety of psychosocial & life adjustment problems that people face in their everyday lives. She has an extensive experience of dealing with career confusions, academic issues, relationship issues, exam stress and skill development. She worked as a facilitator and trained children for the development of Higher Order Thinking Skills. During her internship at All India Institute of Speech and Hearing at Mysore, she worked with children having ADHD, Learning disability and even those who were intellectually disbaled and suffered from Down syndrome. Her belief is that every individual is unique and has the right to be happy, which clearly goes on to show her liberal mindset.