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WVUCommMOOC Media Multitasking Lecture 3

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Elizabeth Cohen

on 10 October 2016

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Transcript of WVUCommMOOC Media Multitasking Lecture 3

If Media
Multitasking is So Bad,
Why do We Do it? Environmental Pressure:

Cultural Pressure:


Emotional Gratifications: Younger generations tend to media multitask the most Media Multitasking: Scope & Consequences #WVUCommMOOC, Session 4, Lecture 3
Elizabeth L. Cohen, Ph.D. Baby Boomers engage in an average of 23.2 media multitask combinations, Gen Xers engaged in 32.4, and Net Geners engaged in 37.5 combinations

A majority of teenagers perform other tasks while listening to music (73%), watching TV (68%), while using a computer (66%), and while reading (53%) Prevalence of Media-Multitasking Reported proportion of time spent media multitasking increased from 16% in 2004 to 19% in 2009 among 8- to 18-year-olds How much do we Media Multitask? (Papper et al., 2004) (Nielsen Company, 2010) Almost a quarter of adults' media time was spent with more than one medium

59% of Americans use computers to access the Internet while they are watching TV

32% of adult IM users report that they multitask all the time, and 29% say they do this some of the time Statistics from a Kaiser Family Foundation Report (Foeher, 2006) Who's good at media multitasking? Supertaskers: approximately 2.5% of people can juggle
2 tasks without seeing a decrease in performance

Ability to effectively multitask tends to decrease as people get older

Evidence suggests that people who do the most multitasking (and think they are good at it) are actually the worst So you think you're good at multitasking? “One of the main reasons people multitask is because they think they are good at it,” study researcher David Sanbonmatsu, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, said in a statement. “But our study suggests people rarely are as good at multitasking as they think they are.”

The study examined the multitasking ability of 310 college students. They were given multiple tests analyzing their multitasking skills, including their ability to use a cell phone while driving. They were also examined for personality traits such as impulsivity and the desire to seek sensations.

The researchers found some interesting associations. For one, people who actually scored well on the multitasking tests were the ones least likely to actually multitask.

Researchers also found that the more people talked on their cell phones while driving, the lower their ability to multitask.

“The people who multitask the most tend to be impulsive, sensation-seeking, overconfident of their multitasking abilities, and they tend to be less capable of multitasking,” study researcher David Strayer, also a psychology professor at the university, said in the statement.

Past research has already shown that multitasking leads to sub-par quality of work and added stress. So why do we do it? Past research in the Journal of Communication shows that it gives us an emotional boost, even though it doesn’t actually make us more productive.

“There’s this myth among some people that multitasking makes them more productive,” Zheng Wang, assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University and the researcher of the Journal of Communication study, said in a statement. “But they seem to be misperceiving the positive feelings they get from multitasking. They are not being more productive—they just feel more emotionally satisfied from their work.” (Watson & Strayer, 2010) (Clapp, et al., 2010) (Ophir, Nass, & Wagner, 2009)
Frequent mulitaskers not only have lower success rates on a task when they're multitasking, they actually have lower success rates when they are NOT multitasking

Heavy multitaskers suspected to have less cognitive control over filtering out interference Negative Consequences of
Media Multiasking Decreases Productivity

Threatens Safety

Hinders Health & Development

Harms Relationships Decreased Productivity Threats to Safety Hindrance of Health &
Development Relationship Harm But is Media Multitasking All Bad? Certain cognitive processes may be enhanced over time by multitasking

Positive Social Effects of Constant Connections Discussion Questions 1. What do you think are the consequences of children growing up in a culture where media multitasking is the norm?

2. What positive and/or negative effects has media multitasking had in your own life?

3. Do you think we have established widely accepted etiquette on when it is and it is not appropriate to use media technologies in face-to-face social contexts? If so, what is it? If not, why not, and what do you think the etiquette should be? Using media devices while operating machinery, or even walking can result in accidents

Planning to speak and speaking put far more demands on the brain’s resources than listening

Even hands-free devices compromise cognitive performance Notable Findings on Driving and Cell Use: (Almor, 2008) Source: Transport Canada

4% Boomers
15% Gen X
39% Gen Y
36% Teen drivers Breakdown of people who admit to texting and driving: Driving While Talking on The Phone Splits Attentional Resources* (*Notably, non-mediated talking isn't as big of a problem) Brain responds to impossible multitasking demands by pumping adrenaline and other stress hormones that take a toll on the body, and may result in chronic health issues

Over time, stress hormones unleashed can cause permanent damage to brain cells associated with memory, and people might have trouble doing just one thing at a time Some media multitasking could make you negligent about your health (e.g., not being mindful of what or how much you eat in front of a screen) cognitive demands

Cognitive demands Cognitive Capacity Multitasking could also be changing brain structures like the frontal cortex (especially among youth) Very controversial, not much research

Difficult to show that multitasking influences brain development and not the other way around = STRESS Social media help us connect to and maintain relationships with others who are not in our physical space

But the need to constantly connect with others can intrude on our connections with those who do share our space. (Pea & Nass, 2012) Recent survey of 8- to 12-year old girls found that greater media multitasking associated was worse social and emotional development Again, a casual link between multitasking and social development can't be established here

Still underscores the need to emphasize face-to-face connections without some simultaneous media use Just to reiterate: Less Media Multitasking Tends to be More Mo Tasks Mo Problems Number of Tasks Performance Problems (With perhaps one notable exception: listening to music) The brain has a special area in the brain for processing music

Does not use up cognitive capacity (Wang and Tchernev, 2012) Sometimes we have no choice Ideals about what it means to be productive Heavy multitaskers tend to be impulsive, sensation-seeking, and overconfident in their ability to handle and benefit from multitasking Multitasking feels good Addiction? (Lui & Wong, 2012) (Perhaps not, but saying it's “good” at this point is still premature) ...more on this in the next lecture
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