Media multitasking: impact on organization and performance in non-digital tasks

Research articles
By Vivien Gaujoux, Emanuelle Reynaud, Richard Palluel-Germain, Guillaume T. Vallet, Jordan Navarro, François Osiurak

Media multitasking raises two major concerns: does the propensity to multitask reflect a general tendency, and does it impact cognitive abilities? If such is the case, when facing four non-digital tasks to complete in 20 minutes, heavy media multitaskers should switch tasks more often than light media multitaskers, and therefore perform more poorly than light media multitaskers. Our results do not support this assumption, the amount of media multitasking being uncorrelated to the number of switches, pointing to situational factors relative to the nature of the tasks rather than a general behavior in individuals. Interestingly, regardless of the amount of media multitasking, higher media consumption was linked to increased performance on our non-digital tasks. This study highlights the need to better assess the predictors of organization when facing multiple tasks.

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