Frequent media multitasking is not associated with better cognitive flexibility

Karen Murphy, Myoungju Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Media multitasking refers to utilising multiple media simultaneously or the rapid swapping between media. This study examined the link between media multitasking and cognitive flexibility. Participants completed a version of the Media Multitasking Index (MMI) (Ophir, E., Nass, C., & Wagner, A. D. (2009). Cognitive control in media multitaskers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(37), 15583–15587) and performance on the Category and Figural Fluency tasks and Remote Associates Test was compared for light (LMM), intermediate (IMM) and heavy (HMM) media multitaskers. To reconcile the inconsistencies regarding media multitasking and cognitive flexibility within the literature, participants were allocated to LMM, IMM and HMM using one standard deviation above/below the mean, quartile, tertile and top-bottom 10% grouping criteria. Regardless of the grouping criteria, there was no difference between LMM, IMM and HMM performance for any cognitive flexibility measure. As a continuous variable, MMI scores did not predict performance on any task. These results are consistent with other studies reporting no link between media multitasking and cognitive flexibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Nov 2021

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