The term "multitasking" originated in the computer engineering industry. It refers to the ability of a microprocessor to apparently process several tasks simultaneously. Computer multitasking in single core microprocessors actually involves time-sharing the processor; only one task can actually be active at a time, but tasks are rotated through many times a second. With multi-core computers, each core can perform a separate task simultaneously.
The first published use of the word "multitask" appeared in an IBM paper describing the capabilities of the IBM System/360 in 1965.
Research on human multitasking
Since the 1990s, experimental psychologists have started experiments on the nature and limits of human multitasking. It has been shown multitasking is not as workable as concentrated times. In general, these studies have disclosed that people show severe interference when even very simple tasks are performed at the same time, if both tasks require selecting and producing action (e.g., (Gladstones, Regan & Lee 1989) (Pashler 1994)). Many researchers believe that action planning represents a "bottleneck", which the human brain can only perform one task at a time. Psychiatrist Edward M. Hallowell has gone so far as to describe multitasking as a “mythical activity in which people believe they can perform two or more tasks simultaneously as effectively as one.”
Others have researched multitasking in specific domains, such as learning. Mayer and Moreno have studied the phenomenon of cognitive load in multimedia learning extensively and