Consistent distraction doesn't hinder learning and inconsistent is the real problem, reveals a new study.
According to the study by Brown University, as long as our attention is as divided when we have to recall a motor skill as it was when we learned it, we'll do just fine and if attention was as divided during recall of a motor task as it was during learning the task, people performed as if there were no distractions at either stage.
Lead researcher Joo-Hyun Song said that most learned motor tasks - driving, playing sports or music, even walking again after injury - occur with other things going on and given the messiness of our existence, the brain may be able to integrate the division of attention during learning as a cue that allows for better recall when a similar cue is present.
The researcher said that the underlying assumption people have is that divided attention is bad - if you divide your attention, your performance should get worse. But learning has a later, skill-retrieval part. People haven't studied what's the role of divided attention in memory recall later.
The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.