Journal article

Does Multitasking Impair Studying? Depends on Timing

Harold Pashler, Sean HK Kang, Renita Y Ip

APPLIED COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY | WILEY-BLACKWELL | Published : 2013

Abstract

It is often said that contemporary students frequently study while 'multitasking'. However, this rather diffuse term encompasses situations that vary as to the whether the learner controls the pace at which educational materials are provided. On the basis of prior cognitive research, we hypothesize that this may well be a critical determinant of interference. Three studies required students to read or listen to several short historical narratives and also to engage in five to eight very short conversations (akin to an instant messaging conversation). In Experiment 1, subjects read the narratives; here, multitasking marginally increased total time spent reading the narratives, especially when..

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