Can't see the forest for the trees? The effect of media multitasking on cognitive processing style
Faculty of Applied Economics
Media psychology. - Mahwah, N.J., 1999, currens
, p. 425-450
University of Antwerp
Media multitasking represents an important aspect of the recent evolution in media consumption habits. While some experimental research exists, it has primarily focused on the detrimental effects of multitasking on task performance. We go a step further by examining the impact of media multitasking on information processing style. Study I demonstrates that media multitasking, compared to sequential media consumption, leads to a more local perceptual processing style. Furthermore, the frequency of media switching predicts the level of perceptual processing. Study II extends these findings by showing that media multitasking also affects conceptual processing style. Specifically, media multitasking leads to lower-level (or more concrete) construal of behaviors in a subsequent task. It further shows that conceptual rather than visual switching between media drives the observed differences in conceptual processing. These findings suggest that, as a growing phenomenon, media multitasking behavior may substantially alter the way media viewers process media content.