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3-second distraction doubles work errors

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3-second distraction doubles work errors

Postby skynet » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:37 pm

Honestly I wonder why we even need a study to prove this. Isn't it obvious that interruptions have a huge effect on the quality of work? Well, at least I can show this study to someone if they complain about my work after they've interrupted me several times.

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Short interruptions—such as the few seconds it takes to silence that buzzing smartphone—have a surprisingly large effect on one’s ability to accurately complete a task, according to new research.

The study, in which 300 people performed a sequence-based procedure on a computer, found that interruptions of about three seconds doubled the error rate.

Brief interruptions are ubiquitous in today’s society, from text messages to a work colleague poking his head in the door and interrupting an important conversation. But the ensuing errors can be disastrous for professionals such as airplane mechanics and emergency room doctors, says Erik Altmann, lead researcher on the study and associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University.

"What this means is that our health and safety is, on some level, contingent on whether the people looking after it have been interrupted," says Altmann....

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