According to the internet, it's difficult to simultaneously pat your head and rub your belly.

Here's another one:

"How smart is your right foot"? Sit down, lift your right foot and do clockwise circles. While doing that, draw number 6 in the air with your right hand.

Why is patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time considered difficult to do?

  • 1
    the statement - "Apparently it's impossible, but not for me." doesn't make sense, it is therefore possible. More information could be found if you research areas of the brain, motor cortex and coordination (cerebellum).
    – Andrew
    Jul 25, 2020 at 8:10
  • 2
    This question may benefit from being moved to Psychology.SE as the neuroscientists there may shed more light on this. The problem is that due to the age of the question, it is too old to migrate, so manual deletion and asking there would be required. Jul 26, 2020 at 6:30
  • @ChrisRogers The OP was last seen over two years ago and the question is too old to migrate, so it is what it is.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jul 28, 2020 at 4:56
  • See psychology.stackexchange.com/questions/77/…
    – JMP
    Feb 7, 2021 at 15:47

1 Answer 1


Most of the multi-tasks performed usually links to different parts of the brain. However, if you try to perform a multi-task that calls two regions of the brain in the same area, the communication becomes confusing and thus that effect.

We used fMRI to compare whether amplitude and directional interference during bimanual actions activate the same or specialized neural circuits. [...] In general, our data thus support the view that even though the encoding of amplitude and directional information converge at one point and activate the same neural substrate, additional independent mechanisms are involved in bimanual amplitude as compared to that in direction control. article

The most straightforward interpretation of the bottleneck in response selection is that the brain contains a single piece of machinery, akin to the central processing unit of a computer, that takes a single retrieval cue (the output of the process of perceiving a stimulus) and looks up in its memory the corresponding action to be performed. [...] If one imagines the brain working something like a digital computer or a clerk in a reference library, one is confronted with a paradox. The system appears able to take in two inputs and use them simultaneously to choose a single appropriate response from memory, but it cannot take two stimuli and use them simultaneously to choose two different responses. article

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