Are Women Better at Multitasking? We conducted a simple experiment to find out. Read on!
There are many things in this world that we take for granted. We’re pretty sure gravity is one of them. Other things we take for granted include electricity. Life would be extremely tedious without it.
Multitasking is another thing we take for granted. Many of our computers, phones, and tablets allow us to easily multitask. We often forget how difficult it is for an average human to multitask effectively.
Our brains don’t multitask as smoothly as our computers and phones do. We possess complex brains, thus, multitasking is difficult. You can claim that you can multitask effectively, but that claim can easily be rejected through the right experiments.
Some scientists have stated that you could practice multitasking. Through a lot of practice and trying, you could be a good multitasker. What about our innate ability to multitask? Is it really that bad? Some studies show that it might not be that abysmal, but women have been said to be naturally better at multitasking. This maybe is from an evolutionary standpoint. Anyway, it’s the classic tale of males vs females.
To find out if women are better multitaskers than men, we conducted this simple experiment:
We let both men and women read the childhood story of “The Three Little Pigs” while simultaneously having to take note of random words dictated to them from time to time as they read the story. A total of 10 words were dictated to each person reading the story.
The story the respondents had to read was entitled, “Three Little Pigs” and is composed of 260 words.
‘Three Little Pigs’
Once upon a time, there were three little pigs. One pig built a house of straw while the second pig built his house with sticks. They built their houses very quickly and then sang and danced all day because they were lazy. The third little pig worked hard all day and built his house with bricks.
A big bad wolf saw the two little pigs while they danced and played and thought, “What juicy tender meals they will make!” He chased the two pigs and they ran and hid in their houses. The big bad wolf went to the first house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in minutes. The frightened little pig ran to the second pig’s house that was made of sticks. The big bad wolf now came to this house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in hardly any time. Now, the two little pigs were terrified and ran to the third pig’s house that was made of bricks.
The big bad wolf tried to huff and puff and blow the house down, but he could not. He kept trying for hours but the house was very strong and the little pigs were safe inside. He tried to enter through the chimney but the third little pig boiled a big pot of water and kept it below the chimney. The wolf fell into it and died.
The two little pigs now felt very sorry for having been so lazy. They too built their houses with bricks and lived happily ever after. 1http://shortstoriesshort.com/story/the-three-little-pigs
While having to read this, the subjects also had to write down words dictated to them periodically as they read the story. This was the form of distraction used in the experiment. The List below shows the words that were dictated, and when they were used.
- Animal – at the end of the 25th word, ‘sticks’
- Story – at the end of the 50th word, ‘day’
- Pink – at the end of the 75th word, ‘tender’
- Smelly – at the end of the 100th word, ‘first’
- Forest – at the end of the 125th word, ‘made’
- Children – at the end of the 150th word, ‘now’
- Moral – at the end of the 175th word, ‘huff’
- Fat – at the end of the 200th word, ‘little’
- Activity – at the end of the 225th word, ‘it’
- Final – at the end of the 250th word, ‘too’ 2http://listofrandomwords.com/
The average results for both men and women are summarized in the table below.
|Group||Reading Time (s)||Correctly Read Words (Max 260)||Reading Speed (words per second)||Correctly Written Words||Multitasking Score|
From the results, it seems that women are indeed better multitaskers since their multitasking score is clearly higher than that of men. This means that the females were more capable of accurately reading the text and writing certain words simultaneously.
The data showed that the males have a faster average reading speed (2.55 words/sec) as to the females (2.36 words/sec). This is likely due to the fact that females are naturally more careful and cautious when approaching this task compared to males who tend to be brash and tackle things head on. But even if men read faster, their multitasking score is lower because of their inaccuracy in the other task, which was to write the 10 words correctly. On average, men only wrote 8/10 words correctly while women on average wrote all 10 dictated words correctly.
We also recorded whether the respondents were saying the correct words while reading the story. The males committed more mistakes than the females and this is also due to the fact that the males read the text faster causing them to potentially skip words or mispronounce them.
Conclusion: Women are indeed better multitaskers
This is not an unusual find, as earlier researchers and studies have usually concluded that women are almost always better multitaskers than men are. Females usually do much better than men in professions that require multitasking too. We usually find accountants or brokers to be females. This is mainly due to the female’s natural innate ability to focus on things better, and avoid distractions.
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