Exploring the effects of media multitasking

    Research output: Other contribution


    Easy and fast access to the Internet and social media platforms at any place and at any time, is presently transforming the behavior of the media consumer. In line with the rapid adoption of mobile technology (for example smartphones and tablets) on the mass market, we can see augmented media multitasking habits, especially among younger media users, so called diginatives. Media multitasking entails simultaneous engagement in two or more media forms at the same time. However, though media multitasking and similar behavioral patterns are becoming more common, research on this particular behavior lists almost exclusively negative cognitive effects such as diminished comprehension and performance (e.g. Bardhi, Rohm, & Sultan, 2010). Some researchers even claim that media multitasking may represent a unique risk factor for mental health problems such as depression and social anxiety symptoms (Becker, Alzahabi, & Hopwood, 2012).

    Stemming from the paradox between the documented negative effects, and the nevertheless increasing media multitasking behavior, this paper aims at giving an overview on contemporary research on media multitasking. A literature review has been conducted to be able to answer the question; what do we know about media multitasking and the effects of this behavior today? Media multitasking as a phenomenon is not likely to disappear or diminish. These kind of behavioral patterns that induce cognitive distraction and divided attention, are common among people of all ages. Still, especially young people describe media multitasking as particularly easy, and as a natural way of life (Rosen, 2010; Carrier, Cheever, Rosen, Benitez, & Chang, 2009) , maybe without even being aware of the negative cognitive effects.

    What does this mean for example for marketers? For future employers? For educators? This work-in-progress paper is part of a research project on self-perceived effects of media multitasking among diginatives.

    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Cite this