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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Who Multi-Tasks and Why? Multi-Tasking Ability, Perceived Multi-Tasking Ability, Impulsivity, and Sensation Seeking

Tantek Multitasking

Tantek Multitasking (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

 

From the 29 January 2013 summary at Full Text Reports

 

The present study examined the relationship between personality and individual differences in multi-tasking ability. Participants enrolled at the University of Utah completed measures of multi-tasking activity, perceived multi-tasking ability, impulsivity, and sensation seeking. In addition, they performed the Operation Span in order to assess their executive control and actual multi-tasking ability.

The findings indicate that the persons who are most capable of multi-tasking effectively are not the persons who are most likely to engage in multiple tasks simultaneously. To the contrary, multi-tasking activity as measured by the Media Multitasking Inventory and self-reported cell phone usage while driving were negatively correlated with actual multi-tasking ability.

Multi-tasking was positively correlated with participants’ perceived ability to multi-task ability which was found to be significantly inflated. Participants with a strong approach orientation and a weak avoidance orientation – high levels of impulsivity and sensation seeking – reported greater multi-tasking behavior.

Finally, the findings suggest that people often engage in multi-tasking because they are less able to block out distractions and focus on a singular task. Participants with less executive control – low scorers on the Operation Span task and persons high in impulsivity – tended to report higher levels of multi-tasking activity.

 

 

 

 

January 31, 2013 - Posted by | Psychology | , , , , , ,

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