Dr Natasha Matthews, Research Fellow, SLRC
Title: Multitasking and the developing brain
With advances in digital technologies, children and adolescents today spend more time multitasking than ever before. Recent evidence suggests that 8-18 year olds spend over 10 hours per day engaged with some form of technology (up 44% over a decade), with 30% of that time spent using more than one type of technology at once. What we do not know is how all of this everyday multitasking influences the developing brain. During childhood and adolescence, the brain in undergoing significant development in areas that control attention, focus, and reasoning. It has been proposed that large amounts of multitasking during this sensitive period may have either a positive or negative influence on development. In this presentation I will discuss the latest research on the influence of technology-multitasking on brain development, and present findings from a recent large-scale project run in partnership between the SLRC and Questacon which explored the relationship between every day technology multitasking and cognitive abilities in children and adults.