Brain Bulletin #50 - The #1 Brain Myth and Why it is Dangerous!

in Brain Bulletin

What is the #1 brain myth out there and why is it dangerous?

First, I have a great brain test for you to try. The test was developed by psychologist John Stroop. The results of this test strongly demonstrate this #1 myth that brain scientists have a name for it. The Stroop Effect.

Take the test and then keep reading. Here is the link to the test: did you do? If you were like me....not great the first time through. You just experienced one of the profound truths about your brain. It can only do one thing at a time.

What is the #1 Brain Myth? Multitasking.

Reading email, sorting data, and talking on the phone at once clearly saves time in a crazy busy world. Or does it? Is multitasking even possible for your brain? Neuroscientists say no so much.

Here is remarkable story about the myth and dangers of multitasking:

December 29, 1972 seemed like a great day to be flying.

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 was making its final approach to the Miami Airport. The captain, Robert Loft, noticed something wrong. The landing gear had been put down, but the indicator light was not on. Puzzled by this, the captain took the plane up again to have a look. No explanation. The first officer was called in to have a look. Still nothing. The engineer was called in. No explanation. There was a jet mechanic on board. He was asked to look. Still no explanation.

Everyone was looking at the light one was flying the plane. Lower and lower it goes.

Captain Loft's last words were, "Hey. What's happening here!". Five seconds later the plane crashed into the everglades. Ninety-nine people lost their lives.

Flight crash investigators determined that the crew was so focused on the light bulb that their brains became unaware of their circumstances.

As it turned out it was just a burned out $12.00 light bulb.

The aviation industry calls this "Controlled Flight into Terrain". And it happens fairly often.

Most of us don't fly planes, but we do lots of other things that require our full attention. Listening, studying, driving, operating machinery come to mind.

Multitasking can lead to task saturation for your brain. This can be inefficient at best and dangerous at worst.

I will send a follow up Brain Bulletin on this important topic to you in about a week. I will share some very interesting facts and findings that will cause you to rethink your multitasking behaviour.

Remember, you are a genius. 

Well, I have had an interesting month. I presented at the University of B.C. in Kelowna. I spoke to music teachers in Victoria, and to a software development company in others. I also spoke to lots of students. I am off to Kamploops next week to present on the brain and safety to BC Hydro.

The big event in my life right now is that our daughter is getting married next I'm trying to do as I'm told, and generally trying not to get in the way.