Media Multitasking Scores and Media Use Hours: A Comparison Across the Standard Stroop Task and an Emotional Stroop Task

Karen Murphy, Jay Shin, Matthew Stainer

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Abstract

Heavier media multitasking and media use have been linked to poorer inhibitory control. This study examined the association between media multitasking and media use on performance in the standard and Emotional Stroop tasks. Participants completed the Media Multitasking Index and the two Stroop tasks. Depression, anxiety, and stress were measured to control for the effect of mood on Stroop performance. Within the standard Stroop task, after controlling for affect, higher media multitasking scores and media use hours showed a trend toward shorter overall RTs. For the emotional Stroop task, after controlling for affect, more media use hours were associated with shorter overall RTs and higher media multitasking scores were associated with more overall errors. While this may suggest an association between greater media engagement and more efficient task performance (or a processing speed advantage), the effect sizes were small. These results emphasize the importance of controlling for participant affect to minimize a potential confound when examining the association between media multitasking and inhibitory control. The results also indicate that measuring both media multitasking and media use hours will assist in further clarifying the relationship between media multitasking and cognition.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMedia Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

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