When frequent media multitaskers perform worse and when they do not: The role of self-regulation ability and strategy manipulation

Ewa Szumowska , Agnieszka Popławska-Boruc , Jakub Kuś , Małgorzata Osowiecka , Justyna Kramarczyk


Ophir, Nass and Wagner (2009) showed that as multitasking frequency increases, multitasking performance decreases. Other studies, however, have not replicated this effect (e.g., Minear, Brasher, McCurdy, Lewis & Younggren, 2013). In this paper, we argue that the association between frequent media multitasking and poor multitasking performance depends on self-regulation ability and external factors, such as manipulation of the task execution strategy (sequential vs. free switching). In Study 1, we determined participants’ media multitasking frequency and measured their self-regulation ability. Then, participants performed a multiple media task in which they could freely switch between browser tabs. The results showed that high media multitasking levels were associated with more switches between tabs but only for participants with low (but not high) self-regulation ability. No differences in performance were observed. In Study 2, instead of measuring self-regulation ability, we manipulated task execution strategy (as an external form of regulation). As predicted, media multitasking frequency and performance on multiple tasks (overall score) were negatively related only in the free switching condition and not in the sequential condition. The results elucidate the relationship between media multitasking frequency and multitasking performance by showing its boundary conditions, and they help explain contradictory findings in the media multitasking literature.
Author Ewa Szumowska
Ewa Szumowska,,
, Agnieszka Popławska-Boruc (Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie)
Agnieszka Popławska-Boruc,,
- Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie
, Jakub Kuś (Filia we Wrocławiu / II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Jakub Kuś,,
- II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
, Małgorzata Osowiecka (Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie)
Małgorzata Osowiecka,,
- Wydział Zamiejscowy w Sopocie
, Justyna Kramarczyk
Justyna Kramarczyk,,
Journal seriesComputers in Human Behavior, ISSN 0747-5632, (A 40 pkt)
Issue year2018
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in EnglishMedia multitasking; Self-regulation; Multitasking performance; Performance strategy
ASJC Classification3200 General Psychology; 1709 Human-Computer Interaction; 1201 Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
URL https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.01.043
Languageen angielski
Art_Computers_2018.pdf 710.04 KB
Additional file
Kuś oświadczenie.jpeg 134.69 KB
Osowiecka_ośw_multitaskers 2018.jpg 549.32 KB
Popławska_ośw_multitaskers 2018.jpg 387.66 KB
Score (nominal)40
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 2.137; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 3.536 (2) - 2017=4.417 (5)
Citation count*14 (2021-01-21)
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