Forget Multi-tasking: Study Shows Those who Type Don't Listen

Apr 28, 2016, 12:43 ET from Kaspersky Lab

LONDON, April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Global Kaspersky Lab Study Reveals the Risk of Digital Dependency at Work  

A new study commissioned by Kaspersky Lab shows that employees overestimate their ability to multi-task. While they think they can type and listen properly at the same time, their brain says they can't. So Digital Amnesia, the experience of forgetting information you entrust to a digital device has significant impact in the workplace, as it could mean that potentially insecure devices hold the only record of a conversation.  

The study[i], which explored the presence and impact of Digital Amnesia in the work environment, found that 44 per cent of business people admit that typing notes into a digital device means they miss valuable contextual, emotional or behavioural clues that are vital for accurate understanding, and 13 per cent confess to losing a digital record and finding themselves unable to remember a word of what was said.

The research also discovered that many business professionals are willing to sacrifice active listening for the ease of typing a quick, real-time record of a meeting or presentation. Nearly half (46 per cent) are adamant that the factual accuracy of typed and stored notes is more important than the nuance of conversation and two-thirds (67 per cent) add that digital notes can be backed-up and shared, which is better than relying on the personal memory of a conversation.

Dr Gorkan Ahmetoglu, Lecturer of Business Psychology at University College London, commented on the research, "Human memory is limited. The disadvantage with simply listening, and relying on memory, is that transferring something from short term 'working memory' to long-term memory is difficult and success depends on how well we understand the topic being discussed. If the information is unfamiliar or we don't quite grasp it, noting as much as possible down on a digital device means it can be used to review and build our understanding later."

However, if the listener has a good working knowledge of the topic, the benefits of Digital Amnesia may be less significant.

Ahmetoglu explains, "If one is very familiar with what is being said, then being present "in mind" may be a more effective way to absorb the full bucket of information presented than by noting it on a device - letting our working memory connect the dots in real-time."

The greatest risk of leaving a conversation entirely in the memory of a digital device is that this information is vulnerable to loss, theft or cyber-attack; in which case the record could be lost forever.

"There may be increasing tolerance in the workplace for people having to check their devices for details, but few will appreciate having to hold a meeting for a second time as people can't remember what was said. Digital Amnesia in the workplace represents a risk - but also an opportunity. It reminds us that devices and people work best when they work in partnership, one capturing the facts, the other the feelings that give them meaning. Protecting all devices that are used to support memories and understanding should be a priority for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors," said David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

Copies of Digital Amnesia at Work - the risks and rewards of forgetting in business, are available from here.

About Kaspersky Lab  

Kaspersky Lab is one of the world's fastest-growing cybersecurity companies and the largest that is privately owned. The company is ranked among the world's top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator in cybersecurity and provides effective digital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 400 million users worldwide.

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* The company was rated fourth in the IDC rating Worldwide Endpoint Security Revenue by Vendor, 2011. The rating was published in the IDC report "Worldwide Endpoint Security 2012-2016 Forecast and 2011 Vendor Shares (IDC #235930, July 2012). The report ranked software vendors according to earnings from sales of endpoint security solutions in 2011

i. The research was undertaken by Arlington Research, targeting business professionals in IT/technology, business leadership, sales/marketing and HR/finance roles in the following countries: France, Germany, Italy, UK, Spain, Russia, the US, Mexico, Brazil, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan. The fieldwork was conducted online in late December 2015/early January 2016  

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SOURCE Kaspersky Lab