Thursday, 7 June 2012

The “Myth” of Media Multitasking: Reciprocal Dynamics of Media Multitasking, Personal Needs, and Gratifications

an article by Zheng Wang and John M. Tchernev (The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA) published in Journal of Communication Volume 62 Issue 3 (June 2012)


The increasing popularity of media multitasking is frequently reported in national surveys while laboratory research consistently confirms that multitasking impairs task performance. This study explores this apparent contradiction.

Using dynamic panel analysis of time series data collected from college students across 4 weeks, this study examines dynamic reciprocal impacts of media multitasking, needs (emotional, cognitive, social, and habitual), and corresponding gratifications. Consistent with the laboratory research, cognitive needs are not satisfied by media multitasking even though they drive media multitasking in the first place. Instead, emotional gratifications are obtained despite not being actively sought.

his helps explain why people increasingly multitask at the cost of cognitive needs. Importantly, this study provides evidence of the dynamic persistence of media multitasking behavior.

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