Theory and news about general psychology, psychopharmacology, DSM-5, and the high sensation seeking personality.

BS: The Misconception of Multi-Tasking

To some, Boredom Susceptibility may sound like the most harmless component of sensation seeking. After all, what’s the worst thing that could even come out of simple boredom? More than you think.

As it turns out, many issues may indeed result from Boredom Susceptibility in sensation seekers. One example has been highlighted in a study by Dr. David Sanbonmatsu, Dr. David Strayer, Dr. Nathan Medeiros-Ward, and Dr. Jason Watson, whose examination of individual multi-tasking ability has presented some interesting (perhaps even amusing) results. The study suggests that just about everyone is misconceived in their perception of multi-tasking. Those who multi-task the most often are shown to be actually the least effective at it, yet they are also the most confident in these abilities. Moreover, the most effective multi-taskers are in fact the individuals who multi-task the least often and feel the least confident in their multi-tasking abilities. These assured (yet ineffective) multi-taskers are then the ones showing high levels of sensation seeking. “Finally, the findings suggest that people often engage in multi-tasking because they are less able to block out distractions and focus on a singular task,” which appears to imply effects of Boredom Susceptibility.

Boredom Susceptibility — and the fruitless multi-tasking that may ensue — can likely lead to more than a lack of productivity; as this study indicates, those with the highest self-reported cell phone usage while driving were multi-tasking sensation seekers. When a reputation for distractions is paired with an overestimation of one’s actual capabilities, a dangerous situation may result.

 Mukund Martin

take a sensation seeking test at