A new article by Douglas Parry, Daniel le Roux and Jason Bantjes (SU: Psychology) has been published in Computers in Human Behaviour. The article reports on the outcomes of a month-long media multitasking intervention study among students.
Media multitasking has been associated with a number of adverse cognitive, psychosocial, and functional outcomes. In particular, associations between media multitasking and the executive or cognitive control processes theorised to underlie the execution of goal-directed behaviour have been shown. In response to calls for investigations considering the remedial efficacy of interventions targeting media multitasking and related cognitive effects, the present study investigates the feasibility of a self-regulation based media multitasking intervention for a student population. Through a mixed-methods study involving a between-subjects, pre/post experimental design, usage tracking, and follow-up interviews, four feasibility dimensions were investigated: demand, implementation, acceptability, and efficacy. The findings indicate, firstly, that a greater cognisance of media behaviour is key to behaviour change and goal-alignment, secondly, that such behavioural changes were perceived to enable more instances of single-tasking, goal-oriented task-execution and, as a result, engender state-level changes in attentional strategies and, thirdly, that short-term behavioural changes do not necessarily imply trait-level changes in cognitive functioning. Key implications for media-effects research in general and, more specifically, for research concerning media-related interference are discussed.