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Are Women innately Good at Multitasking?

By SiliconIndia   |   Saturday, November 3, 2012
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Bangalore: Despite the popular notion which implies that working women are naturally better than men at multi-tasking, a recent Swedish study now proves otherwise.

However, the upper-hand the men in the study had in successfully handling several tasks simultaneously didn’t have much to do with intellectual or physical superiority. But rather had to do with reproductive biology.

  The study by Stockholm University psychologist Timo Maentylae which involved one hundred and sixty men and women between the age groups of 20 and 43 were instructed to keep track of three digital clocks, or counters, which displayed different times running at different  speeds. That was not all- the test was further complicated as the U.K.'s Daily Mail explains, "They also had to watch a scrolling ticker featuring common Swedish names, pressing the mouse button when one of the names was repeated."

How does a mental ability such a multi tasking co-relate with reproductive biology?  The Swedish Psychologist discovered that the ability to combine several varied tasks at once was also linked to spatial ability which, for women, is linked to their menstrual phase.

"Previous studies have shown that women's spatial skills vary across the menstrual cycle with high capacity around menstruation and much lower around ovulation, when oestrogen levels are high," he said.

"The results showed a clear difference in multitasking between men and women in the ovulation phase, while this effect was eliminated for women in the menstrual phase." He added.

The results of the study may challenge the existing notion that women are better multitaskers than men. But it’s hard to picture a man consistently balancing the burdens of house hold chores, parenting and professional work life with sheer dedication.

Keeping track of a few clocks while a host of names are flashed in front your face is hardly comparable to the several challenges many women successfully confront each day.

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