The University of Queensland scientists want to know what makes a good multi-tasker.

It's an experiment!

University of Queensland scientists want to know what makes a good multi-tasker and you'll find out how good you are at multi-tasking..

The Multi-tasking Test is now closed.

About

The Multi-tasking Test is a Citizen Science & Research Project undertaken by ABC Science in conjunction with The University of Queensland's School of Psychology, Queensland Brain Institute, and Science of Learning Centre. It aims to find out whether there are any underlying cognitive factors that make someone good at multi-tasking.

WHAT IT INVOLVES

1. Sign up - To take part in this scientific research project you need to sign up with your login details and a valid email address. Once you're email address has been validated you can start.

Make sure you have an uninterrupted block of time to complete the Multi-tasking Test in - it takes about 25 minutes and once you've started you can't stop and save the test. It all has to be done in one go.

2. Do the Test - there are several components

  1. Survey on your multi-tasking habits
  2. Changing squares interactive test
  3. Staying focused interactive test
  4. The Multi-tasking Test

3. Your Results. You'll get a score on how you did for each test. The real scientific results won't be known until the project is completed and the researchers can analyse the data for significant trends.

WIN A NEW PHONE, TABLET OR CAMERA (UP TO $1000 WORTH)

The competition to win a new phone, tablet or camera to the value of $1000 is now closed. The winner will be announced on September 29, 2011.

WHY DO THE SCIENTISTS WANT TO DO THIS?

The Multi-tasking Test is an excellent way to gather information about the multi-tasking habits and ability of a large number of people.. By individuals doing it online, it will reach a broad group of people.

The researchers are interested in a number of things:

  • How much multi-tasking do we do?
  • Are there any cognitive factors that affect our ability to multi-task successfully.

HOW SCIENCE WORKS

The Multi-tasking Test is a way to collect information for a scientific study. Like most of us, scientists have ideas about things. But to get these ideas accepted within the scientific community they first have to be proved right.

Scientists do this by collecting information, or data in surveys, experiments or tests (like the Multi-tasking Test), and then analysing the data for trends from which they draw conclusions.

The scientists behind the Multi-tasking Test will be analysing the survey data to look at relationships between our short term memory and our ability to juggle several tasks in a stressful environment.

They'll then be able to draw conclusions about what factors influence multi-tasking ability.

To make sure it's an unbiased process, the scientists write down how they did their research and why they came to their conclusions, and ask other scientists to take a look at it. If other scientists think it's okay, then the research can be published. This is called the peer-review process.

When a study has been peer-reviewed and published in a scientific journal then it's been through the rigorous scientific process. It doesn't mean that it's definitely a fact, but it does mean that it's the best at that time! Most of us won't read the scientific journal article, but if the results are particularly exciting we'll probably hear about it in a news report or a magazine article!

The researchers plan to use the data as the basis of a report to be published in a scientific journal.