Over the years we have been hearing the myth than women are supposedly better at multitasking than men.
The source of this myth has sometimes been explained on the simple basis that women acquire better multitasking abilities through doing more housework.
A new study from the Tinbergen Institute of The Netherlands has come up with some interesting findings.
In its Discussion Paper, the Tinbergen Institute states:
…our results do not support the stereotype that women are better at multitasking. Women suffer as much as men when forced to multitask and are actually less inclined to multitask when being free to choose.
As mentioned in a previous article on the multitasking myth I could not find any conclusive research to support that one gender is better at multitasking than the other. This new study reflects this view:
The media regularly mentions research which supposedly shows that women are better at multitasking but to the best of our knowledge, none of this has been published in peer-reviewed journals.
The Discussion Paper concludes with:
We do not find any evidence for gender differences in the ability to multitask. Besides, the share of switchers is exactly the same for men and women and the average number of switches is higher for men. Thus, the results contradict the claims of Fisher (1999): if men think so much more linearly than women, why don’t they insist more on a sequential schedule? Moreover, why is it that women do not adapt better to multitasking than men when forced to alternate? In sum, the view that women are better at multitasking is not supported by our findings.