Influence of media multitasking, cognitive load and smartphone addiction on divided attention performance

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University of New Brunswick


Mixed results have been found for effects of media multitasking frequency on divided attention ability. In addition, there is a lack of evidence to support cognitive differences in those who qualify for a usage disorder concerning their mobile device. In the current study, performance was measured using the Sustained Attention to Response Task (low cognitive load) and a letter number sorting task (high cognitive load). Participants completed both tasks with and without a video presented simultaneously. Eye tracking data was used to evaluate when each participant was looking at each area. Speed, accuracy, and number of fixations on each stimulus were analyzed for each participant. Results demonstrated no cognitive differences among heavy and light media multitaskers, or those who qualified for social media disordered use criteria compared to those who did not. In addition, no differences were observed between the control condition and the experimental condition with the video present.