Now this is interesting
. I have pretty substantial memory and concentration problems due to having ME, and also have Auditory Processing Disorder which means that I have trouble taking things in by ear. For example, I get lost in conversations easily, and if someone reads out material that is dense in information, such as a newspaper article, my brain shuts down fairly quickly. So with that going on, I've always found it a bit odd that I can manage listening to audiobooks, and have assumed that it's because they're read professionally and with a narrative structure that's much easier on the ears (not as densely packed with information, for instance).
However, I've found that I can't listen to audiobooks unless I'm doing some simple visual task at the same time. I get too fidgety and lose my concentration. If I'm up to it, my first choice of activity is hand-sewing. I'll stop the audiobook if I need to apply real thought, such as making cutting calculations, but most of the time quilting is a straightforward, pleasantly repetitive task, so they go together very well. Second choice is a basic computer game with no verbal components and not much thought required, such as solitaire. Despite having been a keen musician before developing ME, and not doing much with the visual arts until I started quilting a couple of years ago, I've discovered that I'm a visual thinker.
Phone calls are trickier. If the computer is on, I'll start reading webpages without even realising that I've started to do it, and often have to put the computer into hibernation in order to concentrate. I also have a habit of pacing the flat while on the phone, and fairly often get distracted by something, informing the person I'm talking to quite randomly that I need to stock up on pine nuts for instance. The irritating thing about losing concentration when listening is that it takes about half a minute or so to realise that it's happened, which with audiobooks can mean the awkwardness of trying to find where I was when I tuned out, and on the phone means apologising to the person talking, asking them to repeat myself, and hoping they don't get offended.
So this research is very interesting to me, and shows some paths I might follow up to see if I can control my concentration and memory problems better. I was part-way there already but hadn't figured out exactly what was going on, and was distinctly puzzled since multi-tasking usually makes my concentration worse. I've never been a doodler and may run into muscular difficulty holding the pencil, but it sounds worth a try, for developing my design skills as well as for helping my concentration. You can read the original journal article here
Cross-posted to capd
and my journal.