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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Science Policy

A Null Relationship between Media Multitasking and Well-Being
Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Author: Shui-I Shih

by Shui-I Shih

There is a rapidly increasing trend in media-media multitasking or MMM (using two or more media concurrently). In a recent conference, scholars from diverse disciplines expressed concerns that indulgence in MMM may compromise well-being and/or cognitive abilities. However, research on MMM's impacts is too sparse to inform the general public and policy makers whether MMM should be encouraged, managed, or minimized. The primary purpose of the present study was to develop an innovative computerized instrument – the Survey of the Previous Day (SPD) – to quantify MMM as well as media-nonmedia and nonmedia-nonmedia multitasking and sole-tasking. The secondary purpose was to examine whether these indices could predict a sample of well-being related, psychosocial measures. In the SPD, participants first recalled (typed) what they did during each hour of the previous day. In later parts of the SPD, participants analysed activities and their timing and duration for each hour of the previous day, while relevant recall was on display. Participants also completed the Media Use Questionnaire. The results showed non-significant relationship between tasking measures and well-being related measures. Given how little is known about the associations between MMM and well-being, the null results may offer some general reassurance to those who are apprehensive about negative impacts of MMM.
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