Multi-tasking while presenting?

One fundamental of my book On-The-Job Speech Training is helping presenters concentrate on their message while avoiding conflicting thoughts.  Your brain does have amazing processing ability but you can only do so many things at once.  I help train you to remove common distractions during your "on stage" time.  [polldaddy poll=3064564] "According to a new study, those who find it difficult to cope with more than a couple of things at one time do not need to be disappointed. The brain is set up to administer two chores, but not extra at once.

That's because, when there are two things to deal with, a part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex splits, so that half of the area centers on one job, while the other half on the other thing. This sharing out of task lets a person to keep track of two things easily, but if you include a third one, things might get jumbled up.

Study Researcher, Etienne Koechlin of the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France, said, "What really the results show is that we can readily divide tasking. We can cook, and at the same time talk on the phone, and switch back and forth between these two activities.  However, we cannot multitask with more than two tasks".

The findings are published this week in the journal Science.

The medial frontal cortex (MFC) is believed to be part of the brain's "motivational system". It particularly helps to supervise the value of rewards and pushes a person's performance in accordance to that value.

Scientists knew that an area at the very front of the brain, known as the anterior prefrontal cortex, is involved in multitasking. But they were not clear how the MFC was entailed in this.

Koechlin and his associates had 32 subjects complete a letter-matching task while they had their brains scanned with functional magnetic resonance (fMRI).

The researchers saw that, the higher the monetary reward, the more activity there was in the MFC."

Thanks to a post on by Amit Pathania on Fri, 04/16/2010 - 12:46.

cience 16 April 2010: Vol. 328. no. 5976, pp. 360 - 363 DOI: 10.1126/science.1183614

Ray Franklin

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