Multitasking and the neuroethics of distraction

Williamp Cheshire

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Multitasking, which requires shifting mental focus among simultaneous tasks, has become increasingly prevalent in our digitally connected culture. Whereas the clinical environment necessarily entails attending to multiple demands competing for the healthcare professional's time and attention, excessive multitasking has been shown to lead to distraction, information loss, and cognitive overload with the potential for medical error. Moral reasoning, which is essential for clinical ethics, engages brain systems that may also be susceptible to impaired performance when external streams of information intrude or interrupt. Intentionally limiting multitasking habits is important for the sake of both patient safety and medical ethics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalEthics and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy


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