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Adam Kimbler, D. Alexander Varakin, Matt Moran, Josh Back, Jason Hays, Brian Huybers; Effects of Media Multitasking on Inattentional Blindness during Multiple Object Tracking. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):44. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.12.44.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Research suggests that individuals who tend to multitask when consuming media are more easily distracted by task irrelevant stimuli than individuals who rarely multitask (Ophir, Nass, & Wagner, 2009, PNAS). This finding seems to predict that heavy media multitaskers would be more likely to notice a task irrelevant stimulus in an inattentional blindness scenario than light media multitaskers. However, Varakin and Huybers (2014, VSS) found no relationship between media multitasking and inattentional blindness, as measured by Mack and Rock's (1998) paradigm. The current study used the sustained inattentional blindness paradigm, similar to Most et al. (2005). In this task, participants viewed displays of black and white circles and squares moving around on a computer screen, and were tasked with counting the number of times shapes of one color bounce off the edge of the screen. After a few trials performing this task, a critical trial occurred in which an unexpected object (a grey cross) moves across the middle of the screen. Participants (n = 132) also completed the media-multitasking questionnaire (Ophir et al., 2009), which was used to classify them as high (MMI Score greater than 1 SD above mean, n=25), middle-high (score between 0 and 1 SD above the mean, n=37), middle-low (score between 0 and -1 SD below the mean, n=46), and low (score less than -1 SD below the mean, n=24) media multitaskers. Detection rates for the unexpected object were 56% for the high multitasking group, 54% for the middle-high group, 48% for the middle-low group, and 42% for the low group. While the association between media multitasking and detection trends in the predicted direction, it was not significant (ᵡ2(3, n=132) = 1.357, p>.05, Cramer's V = .101). Replicating past work, these results suggest that media multitasking is not strongly related to inattentional blindness.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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