Women aren't better at multitasking than men after all, new research reveals

Danielle Fowler
Freelance Writer
Women aren't better at multitasking than men, new research suggests [Photo: Getty]

New research has landed in a bid to debunk the age-old myth that women are better at multitasking than men.

A team of researchers led by Dr Patricia Hirsch of Germany's Aachen University reached the surprising conclusion after analysing 48 men and 48 women while they completed a series of tasks.

The study, published in PLOS One, asked participants to categorise letters as consonants or vowels and numbers as odd or even as they popped up on a screen.

In some experiments, both sexes were asked to pay attention to two tasks at once (concurrent multitasking) while in others, they had to switch attention between tasks (sequential multitasking).

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Researchers measured reaction time and accuracy for the multitasking challenges against their ability to perform a single task.

In contrary to popular belief, men can multitask just as well as women [Photo: Getty]

Interestingly, multitasking significantly impacted the speed and accuracy of completing the tasks for both men and women - with no difference between the two groups.

“It is a widely held belief that women outperform men in multitasking situations, possibly because of an evolutionary advantage and extensive multitasking practice resulting from managing children, household, and jobs,” Dr Hirsch said.

“Our results do not confirm the widespread stereotype that women are better at multitasking than men at least in the popular sequential and concurrent multitasking settings used in the present study.”

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Two previous studies have suggested that gender stereotyping is still rife when it comes to the art of multitasking with 80% of participants strongly believing that women are better at handling multiple jobs at once than men.

We guess we’ll just have to put it to the test at home.

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