We were part of a team of scientists sent to help a fellow scientist who had gotten infected with our latest work. Knowing that she would soon delve deep into madness, she had chained herself up in the lab. As she descended into madness, she created a number of clues and puzzles pointing us in the direction of making the cure as she couldn’t trust herself to use it wisely. We were grateful that she took preventive measures; however, she still had quite a far reach into the lab. As both scientists on our team searched through the lab, we had to constantly keep an eye out for where the mad scientist was located. If she touched either of us, we would not be able to continue with the mission of finding the cure; instead, becoming infected ourselves.

Being in the lab, searching for clues, and solving puzzles, all while constantly keeping watch for the mad scientist, was exhausting! Research studies have shown that the brain cannot consciously focus on two things at the same time. Instead, it has to switch its attention between whatever is being focused on constantly. So there is no such thing as multitasking – instead, our brains are moving back and forth (albeit quickly) between the circumstances that are keeping our attention. This means that it uses a lot more energy than it would be if it were only focusing on one thing entirely at a time. By trying to work puzzles, while constantly watching the mad scientist, we were using up our mental energy and fast.

The good news is that we did locate the cure (after one of us succumbed to the infection from a touch of the infected scientist) and save everyone involved. The not-so-good news is that we left the adventure exhausted and had to figure out how to power back up to be fresh for four other experiences we had planned that day.

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