Presentation Title

Task-Switching and its Relation to Multi-Tasking Performance

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Susan Beers

Start Date

18-11-2017 11:15 AM

End Date

18-11-2017 11:30 AM

Location

15-1814

Session

Social Science 4

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Multi-tasking is a factor in the daily lives of many individuals, but there is a general negative connotation surrounding multi-tasking and its negative consequences. However, the ability to multi-task efficiently and to even improve multi-tasking ability is something that should be examined thoroughly, as it is a critical function to many high stakes careers, such as an emergency room doctor, a pilot, or a police officer. There is not a large volume of research about the relationship between task switching and multi-tasking, although the two seem to be related. Because of this lack of research, the current study investigated if an individual with high task-switching costs would perform worse on a multi-tasking measure. It was hypothesized that task switching ability would be positively correlated with multi-tasking ability, where lower multi-tasking ability would be correlated with lower task-switching ability. An experiment was conducted where participants completed a multi-tasking ability test (MTAT) as well as two task switching measures ( the trail-making task and a traditional task-switching paradigm). Participants were undergraduate students from a southern California university, who took one practice test and three sessions of the MTAT. In between the first and third sessions of the MTAT, participants completed the two task-switching measures. The results of the experiment revealed that there was a significant correlation between an individual’s time loss when they switch tasks under the traditional paradigm and the ability to multi-task. Moreover, multi-tasking ability was also related to general performance in this traditional task. However, multi-tasking performance was unrelated to the trail-making task. Furthermore, the two task-switching paradigms were unrelated to one another. Together, these findings suggest that different measures of task switching tap into varying elemental cognitive processes and that multitasking is related to one, but not the other.

Summary of research results to be presented

The two measures of task-switching (trail making tasks and the traditional task switching paradigm) were not significantly correlated, r = .030, p = .447. The relationships between the MTAT and the two trail making tasks (part A and B) were also not significant, r = .241, p = .134, r = -.122, p = .290, one-tailed. However, the MTAT was significantly correlated with the traditional task-switching paradigm in the predicted positive direction, r = .372, p = .040, one-tailed. The MTAT was also related to blocks of trials in the traditional task-switching paradigm where participants were switching tasks (r = .404, p = .028, one tailed), but not the blocks of trials where they were repeating tasks (r = .179, p = .206, one-tailed).

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Nov 18th, 11:15 AM Nov 18th, 11:30 AM

Task-Switching and its Relation to Multi-Tasking Performance

15-1814

Multi-tasking is a factor in the daily lives of many individuals, but there is a general negative connotation surrounding multi-tasking and its negative consequences. However, the ability to multi-task efficiently and to even improve multi-tasking ability is something that should be examined thoroughly, as it is a critical function to many high stakes careers, such as an emergency room doctor, a pilot, or a police officer. There is not a large volume of research about the relationship between task switching and multi-tasking, although the two seem to be related. Because of this lack of research, the current study investigated if an individual with high task-switching costs would perform worse on a multi-tasking measure. It was hypothesized that task switching ability would be positively correlated with multi-tasking ability, where lower multi-tasking ability would be correlated with lower task-switching ability. An experiment was conducted where participants completed a multi-tasking ability test (MTAT) as well as two task switching measures ( the trail-making task and a traditional task-switching paradigm). Participants were undergraduate students from a southern California university, who took one practice test and three sessions of the MTAT. In between the first and third sessions of the MTAT, participants completed the two task-switching measures. The results of the experiment revealed that there was a significant correlation between an individual’s time loss when they switch tasks under the traditional paradigm and the ability to multi-task. Moreover, multi-tasking ability was also related to general performance in this traditional task. However, multi-tasking performance was unrelated to the trail-making task. Furthermore, the two task-switching paradigms were unrelated to one another. Together, these findings suggest that different measures of task switching tap into varying elemental cognitive processes and that multitasking is related to one, but not the other.