Our brains are really good at taking in a lot of information at once, but they aren't really that good at holding onto it or analyzing it. Critical thinking diminishes rapidly during periods of distraction. It's why your wife gets mad when she tells you about your day, while you are trying to watch the ballgame. Or why you can't follow your teacher's instructions in class because you are checking your text messages. You hear her, but it's really hard to remember what she said. Researchers at Stanford are saying that multitasking makes us less productive, but it also may have much more serious effects.
A lower IQ, a lack of development in the anterior cingulate cortext, and a resulting decrease in emotional and social intelligence (EQ) are some of the potential long-term problems with multitasking. Your ability to concentrate, organize, accomplish tasks, and even form healthy relationships with friends or co-workers may be at stake. So add to your New Year's resolutions that you will put the cell phone away, and make a concerted effort to fully engage in the task at hand. Your brain depends on it.