Today's students might be "media multitaskers" who are adept at juggling homework assignments while watching TV or instant-messaging their friends--but new brain research suggests that such distractions can affect the way people learn, making the knowledge they gain harder to use later on.


The study, published in the July 24 edition of the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences," also provides a clue about why this happens.


"What's new is that even if you can learn while distracted, it changes how you learn"--making the learning "less efficient and useful," said Russell A. Poldrack, a psychology professor at the...

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