Can intense multitasking improve fluid intelligence/working memory?

The Dual N-Back task is the only thing demonstrated to improve working memory so far. And it improves working memory through multitasking (although this multitasking must fit certain criteria - namely - don’t learn the thing so well that you can eventually “automate” it without going into working memory)

And of course there’s going to be some performance deficit. Don’t do it while driving! But there are some things where multitasking is not necessarily a “bad” thing - namely - things that you can do with 90% accuracy since you can later fix up the parts you messed up.

Do any QSers have experience measuring the results of Dual N-back training? It’s something I’m very interested in training as soon as I have other metrics to go on.

Another thing I’d like to mention: what about listening to lyric-filled music while doing tasks? That’s like two things in working memory to keep track of at once

Dual N-back forces you to have multiple items at the same time in your working memory.

Most of the time humans switch their attention frequently when they are supposed to multitask.
There no good reason why the brain should hold the lyrics of a song at the same time as you do another task when those lyrics play in the background.

It’s not a pleasant process, like listening to lyrics and beats while working, which is much more the consciousness single threading back and forth rapidly. You definitely can feel DNB when your are doing it right , and I can feel context switches, as the evil that they are for the creative mind since DNB is one context…

I’ve been trying the dual-n-back in a speculative fashion.
2.No autocorrect on my phone
3.Using a different search engine.

Just, as I said, speculatively. Without even a whiff of rigor, which, I intend to add Aug 1. because I definitely am noticing a difference, enough of one to show up here at least, for the next step. Hi, by the way. :wink:

Does single-tasking improve multi-tasking? I don’t have a source but I remember reading a paper that found that meditation (which I’m considering single-tasking) improved working memory.

Having logged roughly 2 weeks of dual n-back data, my guess is that n-back training is probably somewhat task specific- but that’s just speculation ; )

I think the problem with Dual-n-back is two fold.

  1. Within a session the values correlate with each other. If you lose focus, you have to rebuild your working memory over multiple steps. You would probably have to one session as a single value.
  2. It’s difficult to say how you want to score the difference between dual-2-back and dual-3-back.

I’ve tried playing music many times while n-backing. Vocals in a good song trash my scores, easily dropping them 20%. Instrumental isn’t quite so bad unless the melody is very catchy, but still damages the scores. Always thought this was evidence that music doesn’t help you focus, it just helps you not focus - which says something about all those students who say they need music to help them focus when studying…

I’m also skeptical of claims that studying with music playing or the TV on is effective. That being said, music may serve to drown out distracting stimuli (e.g., ruminating thoughts or nearby conversation).

I spent a week walking around with different types of white noise constantly playing (rain was my favorite). I felt that I was able to think longer before interruption/distraction while doing this.

I noticed that my ears were ringing one day, immediately recalled the warnings of a professor regarding prolonged low DB noise, and stopped this routine.

I still use white noise to meditate in public (with sunglasses) and I feel this benefits attention (and appropriate inattention).