Does the disadvantage of media multitaskers in task switching lie in the change of cue or task?
36.323, Sunday, May 12, 2:45 - 6:45 pm, Royal Ballroom 6-8
Kelvin F. H. Lui1, Alan C.-N. Wong1; 1Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Heavy media multitaskers (HMMs) are found to be inferior to light media multitaskers (LMMs) in cognitive functions such as updating and maintenance of working memory representations, selectively attention, and surprisingly, the ability to switch between tasks. Research on task-switching paradigm using a 2:1 mapping between cues and tasks separates the total switch cost into costs related to two distinct, serial processing stages. The first type of cost is caused by a change in the task-indicating cue. The second type of cost is caused by a change of the task set and has been regarded by some as the actual task-switch cost. In the current study, we examine which stage(s) are affected by media multitasking experience. Thirty HMMs and thirty LMMs as determined by an online media-use questionnaire participated in a cued task-switching experiment involving a word typing task and a face gender classification task. The overall switch cost in response time was decomposed into two components: (a) the cue-switch cost as a result of a change of the cue with the task unchanged; and (b) the task-switch cost, which represent the switch cost not accountable by the cue-switch cost. HMMs showed a significantly larger cue-switch cost than LMMs, while the task-switch cost was similar for the two groups. Results suggest that HMMs may only be inferior in the cue-driven retrieval process of task set but not in the task-rule application stage. We are also exploring the result patterns for groups with different sub-types of media multitasking experience, and how media multitasking interacts with action video game playing experience.