I work for an advertising agency called HeyHuman based in London. We recently did a piece of neuroscience research with our partners at Neurostrata and Neurons Inc to understand what multi-tasking was doing to our heads.

We presented our findings at SXSW last month and have got 8 other conferences scheduled around the world in the next few months, including a real-time experiment on stage at the Cannes Lions in June.

We have also had some great coverage from The Guardian, The Times, Campaign, and loads of others.

I'm happy to answer any questions about the research, the conferences, or my job in general. AMA

EDIT - 3 hour update - I have to go for a bit now but will try and answer all questions as soon as possible! Thanks everyone for the questions, I had a great (but stressful!) time answering them.

Comments: 231 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

Hashbrownd109 karma

Any link to the article from a scientific journal?

turing_inequivalent69 karma

And a follow up question, why SXSW and not some neuroscience conference?

indoobitably118 karma

because its bullshit written by an advertising firm...

Homozygote31 karma

Ah, rubbishing the study before you've even seen the methodology...

You're just so smart, Reddit!

PannacottaArmy26 karma

There were ten people in the cohort. That's enough information about the methodology to suggest it's a bullshit study done by an advertising agency for column inches and airtime.

Homozygote17 karma

That depends on the methodology and statistical significance of the results.

It doesn't matter why the company did it. It was an advertising agency, not a university. Obviously furthering our scientific understanding wasn't the motive. But the quality of the science is all that should be taken into account when assessing... The quality of the science.

0999925 karma


felixjmorgan5 karma

We had 12 participants, and in neuroscience that's a perfectly valid sample size. Most neuroscience studies are 10-20 participants.

neuro_prof9 karma

I made a reddit account to specifically respond to this. I am a neuroscientist, I work at one of the biggest universities for cognitive neuroscience in my country and have done work on multi-tasking and attention in the past. We run studies that cost $3000-$5000 per participant and never once have we published results we've gotten with only 12 participants. Even on the most expensive studies we've done, we generally have a minimum of 40 participants. I realise that not all labs have the same amount of money and ability to do this, but don't claim that 12 participants is a "perfectly valid sample size" when you're splashing your results all over the news.

felixjmorgan0 karma

This is the information I've been given by my neuroscience partners. If it's incorrect I'll have to go back to them and say, but I've been told by numerous people that most neuroscience studies are 10-20 people. That was also supported by numerous other neuroscientists in the thread. As I said, I'm not a neuroscientist, so I guess it's up to you guys to argue that one between you.

Jstbcool3 karma

It's not all bullshit as some of the things they say have scientific backing, but based on the answers thus far I doubt they have anything supporting their claims of how their company can improve branding.

Specifically, task switching is absolutely a drain on cognitive resources, but its not an absolute phenomena and it can be temporarily overcome in the right circumstances. However, the drain he is talking about is called resource depletion and is not the same as cognitive load, which is what they used in their study (according to the Guardian article). Cognitive load is its own phenomena and wouldn't itself be affected by task switching, rather doing multiple things at once could max out your cognitive resources simply meaning you can't take on a new task without stopping a currently running one. Extrapolating that to brand marketing and memory for brands is quite a leap since they're suggesting cognitive load is why people may not remember your brand.

I actually just wrote an essay on how neuromarketing isn't ready for the applied stages yet as there is too large of a disconnect from the research being done to real world applications. It was just a class assignment so it wasn't anything remarkable, but I'll just throw that out there as that is my own bias based on reading the neuromarketing literature.

felixjmorgan3 karma

I'm trying to fly through as many answers as possible at the moment so I'll get into the first half of your comment when I get a chance (which requires a bit more thought, as you clearly know your stuff in this topic!).

I'd like to address the point about applying this to brands quickly though. Our basic assertion is that brands need to take two approaches:

1) Reaching people subconsciously. As the conscious mind is so overloaded with information, the importance of mental availability (as discussed in Byron Sharp's How Brands Grow) becomes increasingly important. Things like context and personalisation also become increasingly important in helping people process information at a low level.

2) Using disruptive techniques to grab people's attention. For example, disruptive audio in your TV ads (since people are largely looking at their phones).

Hope that helps address your second point.

Jstbcool3 karma

Thanks for the reply. To give my background i'm a PhD student who studies memory and decision making in psychology, but I also have a line of research on resource depletion and risk taking that I'm currently working on getting published. I also have a current study looking at memory for advertisements and explicit vs. implicit memory that just finished running last week. So all of this is very much in my wheel house from a cognitive psychology and neuroscience perspective.

I will also add I changed my original reply as it insulted you when it really didn't need to so I apologize for that. I will also point out I made that edit before i saw this reply as I re-read my comment and thought it was a douche thing to say.

felixjmorgan0 karma

No worries, I'm getting it from all angles here! Ha.

Would love to chat to you about this anyway, so if interested, please do drop me your email. You seem to have a really interesting perspective on it and are probably a lot more knowledgeable than me in this field.

felixjmorgan0 karma

Speaking frankly, there's very little business value for us in speaking at neuroscience forums. Our bills get paid by clients so we go to where clients are, and they're not where clients are.

Our main collaborator, Thomas Ramsoy of the University of Copenhagen, recently spoke at the neuromarketing world forum, but our research wasn't done in time to be included in his session.


Hypochamber29 karma

What about credibility?

felixjmorgan16 karma

People can downvote me if they want, but this is the reality of working in a business environment. There's no point in me lying and making up some excuse, it's just not our world.

We are a marketing agency and we employed some academics to do a research piece that would be of interest to our clients.

I mean, the University of Copenhagen are world leaders in neuromarketing and Thomas Ramsoy is one of the most respected people in the industry, so credibility isn't really an issue. I would love it if they turn it into a scientific journal but I know NOTHING of that world, so it wouldn't be driven by me if it did.

turing_inequivalent17 karma

I understand your first point on having different goals than academia, but I have to disagree on your second point. Just having some people from a credible institution does not automatically give credibility to your study. Charles Darwin himself could come back from the dead and publish a paper on evolution, and it would still have to go through peer review.

felixjmorgan4 karma

Fair point, my last comment was probably more flippant than intended. I just mean it's not going to be driven by me as that's not really my field. I'd love it if the team publish it into a scientific paper but it's a different world than where I operate unfortunately.

PannacottaArmy13 karma

If you don't know about the details of the research, what are we meant to ask you in this AMA? The study's not been published and all you've given us is glossy press releases that don't cover the methodology.

I think the problem people have is that it's fairly transparent that this is just a PR exercise with very little backing it up.

felixjmorgan6 karma

I know the details of the study. I have the results in front of me and have discussed them in various points in the AMA. I also discussed the methodology above. It just hasn't been published yet.

I have also been quite transparent about the intention of the AMA and my broader agenda. I'm doing the AMA because I'm personally excited about it, but my job is to make money for brands, so the scientific agenda just doesn't align with my company's unfortunately.

PannacottaArmy11 karma

If there's very little business value in showing your research to the communities most interested in good research, what is the motivating factor behind doing the research in the first place?

Where does the business value in this research lie for you if it's not producing useful information from the research?

felixjmorgan0 karma

The business value lies in having interesting conversational points to discuss with clients, and getting on stages and talked about in media outlets that clients read.

This might not be the answer reddit wants, but it's just the reality of this industry.

I would love it if it sparks interest in someone from a more STEM background, as it is a really interesting topic that is currently very under explored. I'd love to see more money invested in this from the neuroscience world.

daderade13 karma

It reminds me of Luminosity... a heck of a lot more money is spent advertising the product than is spent on making sure it actually works.

Most products that claim to be founded in neuroscience are actually run by people that got bored of the whole academic rigour thing in college and wanted to make a quick buck.

felixjmorgan7 karma

Luminosity has some very questionable claims, I wouldn't personally advocate any of their claims. Neuroplasticity is a well observed fact, but brain training has had very little real world evidence. The only thing that has any notable evidence behind it is the n-back test, and even that is yet to be proven. Neuroplasticity is real, but it takes a lot of time, and 'intelligence' is too broad a term to be solved by a few simple tasks.

felixjmorgan10 karma

We haven't published the results yet as the study was about a month ago and we took it straight to SXSW. As I mentioned up front though, we're an advertising agency so we're not really in those circles. The guys we did it with (Neurostrata and the University of Copenhagen) deal with that stuff a lot more and will advise us on it soon hopefully.

lastsynapse74 karma

Your SXSW abstract is mostly just buzzwords, but no scientific content. What actual research did you conduct?

felixjmorgan14 karma

We did a neuroscience study with 3 phases to it:

P1 - Participants were told to watch the TV and remember as much of it as possible.

P2 - They carried on watching TV and were also tasked with researching a holiday on their laptop.

P3 - All of the above but they had a friend messaging them in real-time with details about the holiday.

Throughout this whole thing we had them wired up to EEG (ABM X-10 EEG) and eye-tracking (ASL Glasses XG) equipment, and we measured their cognitive load, their distraction, their visual attention and their arousal.

There was also a qual section where we interviewed them about their recall.

ProfWiggles10 karma

How many people did you get? and was there a good mix of ages?

hufflepuph13 karma

You shouldn't have to ask this kind of question. This is the kind of information that any scientific peer reviewer would demand.

felixjmorgan8 karma

I'm getting to it, chill. Our study hasn't been published yet but I was just eager to discuss it with people, so apologies. I'm trying to get through all the questions!

felixjmorgan4 karma

We had a sample size of 12 - equal gender splits and across 3 different age groups (18-55).

This sounds like a small sample size but is quite typical of neuroscience studies. Generally speaking neuroscience studies only use around 10 to 20 participants anyway, as the lower level reactions to things are often more universal and less susceptible to the 'noise' of individual differences in things like personal taste and ways of expressing oneself. Dispersion around the norm is a lot lower than on other studies as neuro-measures are immediate, reflexive, automatic and un-deliberated, so they are less effected by influences and distortions than typical quant studies.

Timguin5 karma

we measured their cognitive load, their distraction, their visual attention and their arousal.

Interesting, but those terms are a bit broad to know what exactly you were testing (as in: you're never measuring any of those things directly, you're measuring features which you have to argue are valid indicators of what you want to evaluate). Can you tell us what you used to evaluate cognitive load and distraction specifically? Spectral entropy? Theta bursts? SEF?

Also, from what you're describing the participants moved their heads quite freely. Can you describe how you treated the resulting movement artefacts? Especially with a 10 channel setup I imagine you had to put quite a bit of work into removing those.

felixjmorgan0 karma

Apologies, this is beyond my personal knowledge level. If you want to PM me your email I'd be more than happy to get the answers for you on this, though it may take a week or so as I'd have to speak to the neuroscience partners.

Sorry I can't help more there!

jocloud311 karma

I would assume there was a control group? What were they doing?

felixjmorgan0 karma

We had a 45 minute control with the EEG and 5 minute with the eye-tracking to establish base lines. This is pretty standard practice for neuroscience studies.

Johammed_Ali33 karma

So, how is multitasking with technology impacting my brain?

felixjmorgan36 karma

Basically we're not multi-tasking as well as we think we are. We think we're doing loads of things at once, but instead we're just switching between tasks really quickly at a very surface level.

This leads to higher cognitive load (basically your working memory load), higher distraction (defined as the ability to maintain attention), lower visual attention (defined as the total duration of visual fixations), lower arousal (defined as the emotional engagement), and brand memory (defined as how many ads they could subsequently recall).

We're spreading ourselves very thin, but because of the dopamine release task-switching gives us, our brains think it's a rewarding behaviour and strengthens the brain pathways to do it more.

It's a self amplifying loop which is damaging our memory, our emotional engagement and numerous other aspects of our cognitive ability.

420__points4 karma

What is your source for the claim that

"It's a self amplifying loop which is damaging our memory, our emotional engagement and numerous other aspects of our cognitive ability."


felixjmorgan2 karma

All of those things were measured in our study.

Increased cognitive load (EEG metric)

Higher levels of mental distraction (EEG metric)

Lower visual attention towards ads (eye-tracking)

Lower arousal to ads (EEG metric)

Lower memory for ads (subsequent memory test)

ishwork1 karma

I love multitasking. One of my favorite things to do to relax is to play a video game where I multitask 3 characters simultaneously (Eve). I don't find it stressful. I enjoy having my brain fully engaged and having so many tasks to perform at once I can only focus on the game and don't have time for distractions like real life, work, my SO, etc.

You are claiming this behavior is damaging, but I don't see how. Am I "wearing my brain out" or something? My self-perception of this is that I have improved at this type of multitasking over time.

Anyway, it's a very interesting topic to me. Like the rest of the commenters here, I'd really like to read the actual research paper. Also, welcome to reddit where we do our research and ask the tough questions ;)

felixjmorgan4 karma

People's self reporting of their multi-tasking is consistently higher than their actual performance. People think they're really good at it but are often just doing things at a very shallow level.

It's not necessarily [i]bad[/i]. Lots of media outlets wanted us to say 'technology is making us dumber' or similar, but it's not that simple. It's just pre-disposing us to different types of thinking - wider but shallower. Covering a much wider range of topics but getting less deep into each of them.

Claystor1 karma

No one actually watches advertisements. Why would you base it on that? It seems like that's when they should focus the least on TV

felixjmorgan2 karma

That was the point. We tasked people with simultaneously remembering what was on the TV and doing lots of different tasks (like in real life). So just like when new House of Cards comes out and you want to focus on it but you're chatting to that girl on Facebook, that was basically what we were testing. 84% of smartphone owners use their phones while watching TV so we created a context that reflected that.

RandomName017 karma

Inb4 OP answers.

felixjmorgan9 karma

I went for lunch! There weren't any questions when I left and it's only 50 mins later. I'm answering now, just getting through them all.

yodasdrunkuncle32 karma

My wife doesn't like when I eat pizza off of her back while doing it doggy style, she said that I'm not as focused on the task at hand. Of course I couldn't hear her because I had my headphones on, so when I took them off and asked what she said, she got mad and stormed off. Oh well, more pizza for me. What should I be doing differently to keep my focus?

felixjmorgan17 karma

Pick pizza toppings that you both like so she can share?

ElKaBongX12 karma

Everything I've read/watched/heard lately about multitasking says that the human brain is TERRIBLE at doing more than one thing at once. Multiple studies have shown that our brains simply switch from one task to another, wasting effort with every switch.

Are you claiming this is not the case?

felixjmorgan10 karma

That's exactly what I'm saying! We don't multi-task, we task-switch, but because of hormonal releases and our brain's plasticity we trick ourselves into thinking it's beneficial.

rahulthewall11 karma

Hello felixjmorgan! Your post has been removed because you have not provided adequate proof within a reasonable amount of time. Please see the /r/IAmA sidebar for posting guidelines. Thank you!

felixjmorgan-5 karma

Nowhere asked me for proof! I mean, this username is my real name which is featured in all of the articles, and it has been active on reddit for the past 5 years.

Shame, was enjoying it.

chrisbravo2411 karma

I bet this is just a publicity stunt. As a neuroscientist, I can inform you that this guy doesn't have a clue about what he's talking about.

Reddit, when something from an advertising company claims to have done serious research, be very skeptic. Peer-reviewed research is usually done by scientists with little to no conflict of interest.

felixjmorgan-5 karma

I've been pretty transparent about the intentions here, not sure why people seem to keep claiming to have 'busted' me. What points of contention do you have?

chrisbravo248 karma

Are you a scientist? Was your research peer-reviewed and published in a neuroscience journal? How did you deal with the conflict of interest declaration?

felixjmorgan1 karma

No, I'm a marketer. We worked with some great neuroscientists on it, most notably Thomas Ramsoy (of Neurons Inc and the University of Copenhagen). He has a PhD in neurobiology and neuroimaging and helped design the study.

It's not peer reviewed and not published yet. I discussed this a bit above.

clinicalbrain6 karma

Did you find evidence for any gender/sex differences in our ability to multi-task?

felixjmorgan0 karma

Surprisingly not! I was genuinly interested to test the whole thing around women being better at multi-tasking, but we didn't find any evidence to support it. Would love to do a follow up with a bigger sample size to test it further.

Even more surprisingly there was no age difference. I assumed younger people may adapt to high cognitive load easier, but there was no correlation between either age or gender.

Jstbcool4 karma

It may be surprising to the everyday individual, but the neuroscience researchers should not have been surprised. Sex and memory rarely interact and there is no reason to believe cognitive load abilities would be different between the two. There are very few differences between men and women's physical brains and a lot of tasks we see sex differences on can be explained by temporary hormonal differences.

felixjmorgan5 karma

Makes sense! I went into this project with little to no neuroscience background, so I'm still learning all these things. Thanks for clarifying.

Arsenite6 karma

Does depression impact the limited multiple-tasking our brain can handle? Lack of sleep impacts short term memory. Does lack of sleep also directly effect task oriented multi-tasking?

felixjmorgan3 karma

That's a really interesting question. Our study didn't really get into that in all honesty, but I'd love to know the answer.

As mentioned above, our agenda for this study was understanding the impact for brands (a dirty word I know, but I figured people would appreciate honesty), so there's lots of things like that I'd love to explore but probably can't justify the costs to do so.

compkodama3 karma

I've read multiple things saying our brains aren't designed for multitasking, and that ultimately we harm ourselves the more we try to multitask.

Why do you think certain cultures place such a high emphasis on multitasking and make it seem like everyone should be doing everything they can all at once?

felixjmorgan3 karma

Hmm, interesting question. I've not really approached it from a cultural perspective, more from a technological perspective. It's a whole other area I've not really explored in all honesty.

I think one of the main reasons is just because we can. Technology has moved so rapidly and become so ingrained in our lives. In the UK now over 2/3 of people have smartphones and it's expected to grow to 80% in the next year. We spend up to an average of 4 hours a day on social media, which is nearly a day a week.

There are so many different apps, and each of them require so little attention. Even in the age of social media we've moved from blogs to statuses to tweets to Yo's, and our attention is just getting divided into smaller and smaller slices.

These tools have given us so many more things to do, but our brains haven't adapted quick enough to deal with it. As it currently stands we're just switching between tasks really quickly rather than managing different ones simultaneously, and it's a big problem for our memory, our emotional engagement and our attention.

The__Korean0 karma


KageJittai7 karma

He admitted he didn't study this area of effects on the brain, but rather from a cultural perspective. Do you expect him to make up an answer?

felixjmorgan3 karma

Not sure what else I can add in all honesty! It's an interesting question, our study just didn't cover it and I've not read anything that has.

There's lots of big, really interesting questions in this field that are yet to be answered properly. I'm just dipping my toes into it. I've read about 20 books for this and done my own study, but I'm by no means an expert. I thought people would be interested but everyone seems incredibly hostile!

GO_2_BREAD3 karma

Why should we care about this?

felixjmorgan6 karma

If you're not interested in the impact using technology is having on your brains, you won't! That's fine, not trying to please everyone. Lots of people seem to find it interesting though.

On a personal level I find it fascinating, as it's a huge part of our lives but one we know very little about.

pranayagarwal102 karma

In what way does multitasking affect our concentration?

felixjmorgan1 karma

As people multi-tasked more we found a highly significant increase in distraction and a highly significant decrease in their visual attention.

The irony of writing my presentation for SXSW was very obvious too, where I kept desperately trying to focus on the writing but would regularly find myself on Facebook or reddit without realising it or planning to do it!

[deleted]1 karma


felixjmorgan2 karma

There's no point in me breaking it down point by point because you seem to have already decided you're the smartest person in the room, but you've made numerous leaps in logic that demonstrate your lack of experience.

shinyrobots1 karma

What would you say is a healthy way to use our smartphones? Should I try and leave my phone at home every now and then? Has there been proven benefits to abbreviating our use of technology?

felixjmorgan1 karma

I guess trying to minimise task switching is the most obvious starting point. If you're trying to work on one task, try and shut down other channels as much as possible. You may think you're being more efficient by checking your emails half way through, but you're sacrificing your cognitive load by doing so.

There was an amazing study done by Glenn Wilson where he showed that having an unopened email in your inbox can effectively reduce your working IQ by 10 points - more than smoking weed. This shows the damage task-switching does to our cognitive abilities, so shutting down channels can really help you focus and get shit done.

Bkeeneme1 karma

What would you say is the most surprising thing you have found through your research?

felixjmorgan0 karma

What was really surprising was something we called 'cognitive collapse', which was discussed in The Times article above. In the third phase of our study, when people were massively overloaded with information, certain people experienced a cognitive collapse and defaulted to one channel. Basically, they were overloaded with information and shut down any further input.

birthdayboy311 karma


felixjmorgan1 karma

It caused me to try and shut channels down a lot more when I'm trying to focus! Interestingly, quite a few of the people in our SXSW talk decided to delete their Facebook afterwards. Numerous people deleted Candy Crush too - the ultimate empty caloried brain candy.

BraveNewRedditor1 karma

Can you comment on how "task- switching" comes into play on how "multitasking with technology" affects us?

Also when you say you "ran a neuroscience study" what role did you play? Did you come up with the experiments ? Or just bankroll a bunch of neuroscientists to look into a way to validate a claim you wanted to promote?

felixjmorgan1 karma

We helped design the study with the help of Neurostrata. Neurons Inc / University of Copenhagen administered the neuro equipment and did the data interpretation. I was personally the only person in the room with the participants during the experiment and ran the pre/post interviews. Not my study from a technical perspective, but it wasn't a simple commission job!

Beastabuelos1 karma

So what causes meantal collapse? A certain amount of devices? A certain amount of time? I don't see how this can be possible. That would mean multitasking anything would cause mental collapse.

felixjmorgan1 karma

Mental collapse was correlated against high cognitive load. It was an unexpected finding for our neuroscience partners, so I think we'd need to do a follow up study to define causation. All we can say at the moment is that it correlated with very high cognitive load caused by heavy multi tasking.

anarkyinducer1 karma

Hi, thanks for doing this ama first of all!

I've seen several studies posted on reddit that seem to suggest that digital media in general is driving a slew of dopamine release based addictions - from pornography to shopping to gambling, etc... The thing that all of these seem to have in common with context switching as well as physical addictions such as binge eating is novelty.

My question is are there any known avenues of treatment for general "novelty" addiction?

felixjmorgan1 karma

That's a great question. All I know of from my personal experience would be abstinence! I find that if I shut down certain channels I am much more able to focus on specific tasks.

Sorry if that doesn't answer your question, I'm not sure I know of anything better in all honesty!

felixjmorgan1 karma

I've been answering questions for 3 hours now and unfortunately have to go! I will get around to answering everyone's questions but it may not be until tomorrow. Thank you everyone for your questions, had a really good (but stressful!) time answering them. Special thanks to /u/jstbcool and /u/timguin who are much more knowledgeable than myself on this topic and added some really interesting insights!

Waja_Wabit1 karma

How does one get into a career of doing neuroscience research outside of academia?

I have a B.S. in neuroscience and psychology, and have been working in university neuroscience research labs for the last 4 years. I love research, I love neuroscience, and frankly I think I'm pretty good at it. But I don't want my career to be in academia. The pay is too low, there is little room to climb, lots of boundaries to funding and research, and the politics surrounding academia are a nightmare.

How does one do neuroscience research for a career outside of academia? And is it worth it? Or do you largely run into the same restrictions as academia?

felixjmorgan2 karma

My world is pretty detached from neuroscience. They've overlapped here but this is not what pays my wages. My job is focused on understanding emerging technology and emerging behaviours, and this was a project that allowed me to dive pretty deep into those emerging behaviours. Generally though, this is kind of tangential to my core role, which is much more about finding brand solutions for behavioural challenges. I apologise if this doesn't give you the answer you wanted, but it's not really my field!

pteje1 karma

What's an example of advertising that's doing it well in light of your research?

Are you doing more research? What's next

felixjmorgan1 karma

I love the new Geico ads that can't be skipped because they get their message across in the first 5 seconds. It's a great example of how to understand the context your consumer is viewing something in and creating something that suits the environment - not just putting your TV on YouTube.

I'm on mobile now but I also love McDonald's print ad they did for the Torino Winter Olympics. They used the McDonalds arches, a familiar brand asset, in a really interesting way that highlighted their sponsorship cleverly.

I can't link now unfortunately but I hope that's enough to find them!

WorldBFree1 karma

Reading books helps keep your brain grounded against the negative attention affects, yes?

felixjmorgan1 karma

I'd like to think so. It's definitely a less surface level thinking process. It requires concentration for significant time, and it requires you to do more than just skim the surface. I think it would, but I've not tested it.

felixjmorgan0 karma

I just checked this on my friend's computer and the original post seems to have been removed? No idea why. I can repost it, but maybe it broke a rule? Sorry if so.

idwthis-1 karma

Do you think that all of our technological gadgets that vie for our attentions are the reason for the rise of such disorders as ADD, and ADHD, both in children and adults?

felixjmorgan-8 karma

I wouldn't want to claim to be any authority on mental disorders, but I can say anecdotally that numerous people who have seen my talks have asked about this based on their own experiences. I recently had one guy come up to me and say he'd been diagnosed with ADHD but thinks it's bollocks, and it's just a symptom of his brain adapting to task switching.

We talked quite a bit about neuroplasticity, and our brains ability to physically rewire to make it easier for us to repeat behaviours we expose ourselves to. This, plus the dopamine release that comes with task switching, creates a dangerous self amplifying loop that just encourages us to become more and more distracted.

I don't feel qualified to make any bold statements on that, but I think it's a big question that I hope someone looks into further.

alreadyfrustrated24 karma

Neuropsych here, the level of misinformation in this thread has gone from amusing to weird.

Canon_Goes_Boom5 karma

care to elaborate?

Austion666 karma

Not neuropsych, but psychology here.

For starters, the "dopamine release that comes with task switching" is something I have never even heard reference to. It's like he pulled it straight out of his ass.

ProfWiggles3 karma

Totally. He is a marketing guy, which is about a 180 from a science guy. I am sensing all things he says are tinged with brown.

felixjmorgan1 karma

Jeez, everyone is crazy hostile here. I'm not claiming to have all the answers, but I'm trying to answer everything as honestly as I can. Everyone just instantly assumes that because I work in marketing I'm an asshole or an idiot.

felixjmorgan-1 karma

It's something that's been discussed by a lot of leading thinkers in this field - Nicholas Carr, Daniel Levitin, Russell Poldrack, etc.

I just had a quick Google and found this (though I've not read it in depth) - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24862078

I fully admit I'm out of my depth when it comes to mental disorders, and was quite up front about that. Dopamine being released when multi-tasking is something discussed by lots of leading thinkers in this space though.