Is it true that men are monotask?

“Is it scientifically true that women can multitask and men cannot, as popular belief suggests?“, asks Simin CMN on the Facebook page of Science and the future. This is our question of the week. Thank you all for your participation!

A scientific study contradicts 15 years later

Women can’t read road maps and are bad at math, men are fickle… The stereotype on the difference between men and women dies hard. And this, even though many studies and surveys come to disqualify them. Of all these stereotypes, perhaps one of the most famous is the idea that men are monotasking and women are multitasking.

Where did this idea come from? Perhaps from a scientific study published in 1982 in the journal Science…after dissecting 20 brains, two anatomists Christine de Lacoste and Ralph Holloway concluded that the corpus callosum (the nerve fiber connecting the two cerebral hemispheres) is thicker in females, hence the idea that it is more common in females. Will allow your two hemispheres to activate more. to accomplish multiple tasks simultaneously effectively, and therefore at the same time.

However, 15 years later, a meta-analysis of 49 studies, involving 2,000 subjects and published in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavior Review, shows no significant difference in the thickness of the corpus callosum between the two sexes.

The brain cannot do more than two tasks at the same time

A study published in 2010 in the journal Better ScienceIn , neurobiologists tienne Koechlin and Sylvain Charon revealed that the brain is not capable of processing more than two tasks at the same time – one in each frontal lobe – whether one is male or female. Moreover, the error rate becomes very high due to lack of good coordination by the brain. To reach this conclusion, they tested 32 volunteers – upon completion of which they were rewarded with a sum – by observing the activity of their cortex under MRI. The tasks involved grouping the letters that appeared on the screen according to certain criteria. For example, matching upper case letters on the one hand, lower case letters on the other. When the researchers added a third task based on the color of the letters, the results dropped! Response time and error rate are increased. “By pursuing three goals at the same time, our brain will suffer from a coordination problem”, suggest Etienne Koechlin and Sylvain Charon.

Therefore, it is useless to think that you will be able to walk down the road effectively (without any hindrances) while checking your email and chatting with someone!

With Elena Sender and Rachel Mulotto

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