Essay on Media 's Effect On Cognitive Behavior

Essay on Media 's Effect On Cognitive Behavior

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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; this is especially important in light of recent conflicting research about media multitasking’s effect on cognitive processes.
Recent studies on media-multitasking focus on the long-term cognitive changes that occur when one consistently media multitasks; this research has led to two contradictory points of view. The debate surrounding high volume media multitaskers is based on the existence or absence of individual’s long-term detriments in attention, task switching and filtering of irrelevant details.
The great debate over the impact of media multitasking was ignited by an influential study by Ophir, Nass and Wagner (2009). 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 th...


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...participants regarding this stimulus. After this test, the participants will immediately complete a SART test to assess their task-switching abilities. We hypothesize that the two relevant stimuli presented in the vigilance test will be detected equally by LMMs and HMMs, which can add further contradictory evidence to disprove the top-down theory presented by Ophir and colleagues (2013). Additionally, we predict that the covert stimulus in the vigilance test will be detected more frequently by HMMs than LMMs; if true, this finding would further strengthen the claim that HMMs engage in useful breadth-biased attention, in accordance with Lin (2009). Lastly, we predict that the SART test will show no significant differences between the groups, which could show that frequent and infrequent media multitasking has little to no cognitive effect on task-switching abilities.

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