The Impact Of Media Multitasking

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The vast technological advancement of the past 20 years has changed the modern landscape; individuals, from all age groups, are increasingly using smart phones, tablets and portable computers. These advents, designed to allow users to easily and quickly access information, has led to increased media consumption. It has been found that an individual often consumes different types of media simultaneously, a phenomenon known as media multitasking. The influx of accessible technology to the general public has corresponded to an increase in media multitasking. This increasing trend, especially in younger people, fortifies the importance of understanding the short and long-term effects that media multitasking has on cognitive functioning and attention;…show more content…
Their study utilized a Media Multitasking Index (MMI) that assessed individual’s media consumption, and divided participants into two groups: high media multitaskers (HMM) and low media multitaskers (LMM). In studies testing filtering ability, HMMs were less selective for irrelevant information (from the environment) entering their working memories, which made them more susceptible to distractors (Ophir et al, 2009). Using two- and three-back tests, Ophir et al. (2009) found that HMMs showed detriments in filtering out irrelevant representations in their memories. Perhaps the most surprising finding of the study was that HMMs also showed lessened abilities in task switching exercises. The study claims that LMMs’ can be distinguished from more distractible HMMs’ due to their ability to employ top-down attentional control (Ophir et al, 2009). This finding shows that LMMs possess a better ability to singularly focus on tasks, which Ophir et al. views as a favorable trait in daily life. Essentially, frequent task switching acts as a self-perpetuating problem: the more frequently one engages in task switching, their top-down attentional control and ability to task-switch
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