The Illusion of Multitasking and Its positive effect on Performance Essay

Crystal EvansProfessor MackenzieCognitive Psych.5 April 2019 The Illusion of Multitasking and Its positive effect on Performance Several studies were conducted within the article’s confines (around 32) but it focuses on far fewer. Upon reading this article I concluded that juggling multiple tasks is in the eye of the beholder as far as the more attention a task needs the more difficult to do, especially in concurrence with other tasks. It really depends on whether someone believes a task is multi-tasking. If we believe that the task is in fact multitasking we usually do better with the tasks across the board.

With that being said multitasking isn’t of higher rank when compared to monotasking. Although, it’s supported that multitasking does aid in our performance. In the studies, some participants were told that they were multitasking and they did better than those that had monotasking conditions. Study 1A participants were paid. They were told that they would be multitasking, which involved watching a video and they were asked to write down verbatim what was said in it.

Within Study 1A there was also a group that were asked to do the same tasks although framed and essentially manipulated as if it were one single task at hand and they would be tested on learning. Either condition had two tasks. Watching and writing down what they got from the video. The people involved in this study were offered an additional cash incentive for getting words correct and there was a pop quiz at the end of this particular study. Across the board even including the pop quiz, the multitasking group did considerably better. In Study 1 B, everyone worked on the same task. They were mandated to watch an online lecture that talked about Pangea and take notes. They were initially paid. They were told they would get additional money for in depth notes and how much they remembered. The people conducting the study never mentioned the word multitasking but were clear that they were two separate tasks and they were to be performed at the exact same time. If we consider studies 1A and 1B we can deduce that people do better when they believe that they are multitasking as opposed to mono tasking something. Perception makes a difference in processing things. In regard to Study 2A, it was different compared to the prior studies because it promoted awareness of multitasking versus manipulating it. It was designed to measure perception and it discussed if the behaviors would have occurred regardless. This time partakers were presented with puzzles. The first puzzle was a word puzzle where the participants were asked to find as many words as they could horizontally, diagonally, vertically.The second was an Anagram in which the participants made as many words as possible using a 10 letter string.They were initially paid and were offered additional incentives for correct answers. They were partnered up afterward and they were to tell a partner whether they thought it was multitasking or monotasking. The results were that the people who considered it to be multitasking did considerably better. Study 2B, the same puzzles were included in this study as Study 2A. In this study they had 4 mins but were allowed to quit sooner. However, a participant was randomly assigned to one of the two. They were described as being two different studies and separated on a screen. This study also looked at persistence, relating to performance, if someone was more persistent did they do better? They did tell some participants in this study that there would be some subjects working on a single study and some working on two concurrently. It seemed to have no effect knowing that information so they didn’t continue with that portion. Overall the findings showed that the more persistent were the ones assigned to multitasking. Study 3 was similar to 2A and 2B. It used puzzles. This study concerned itself with pupil dilation. It was designed to measure effort, attention, and how we process info. They were paid and offered additional compensation for correctly found words. Using eye tracking research methods performance was measured and as expected multitaskers performed better with that task. Apparently people that were multitasking had bigger pupils than those who were single tasking. It seemed like the multitaskers found more words but there is not a direct connection made how they were able to find more solutions over the mono taskers. Some of the studies directly employed the word multitasking while other studies didn’t make a mention of the word. Some of the studies had a certain time limit while others can be stopped whenever. The article doesn’t explicitly go into studies 4 and 5 so much as it outlines the two studies’ outcomes. When partakers multitasked, it was hard to ascertain why they did better and how exactly they switched back and forth between tasks and it made confounded. Confounded is where a researcher is unable to distinguish a cause and effect of their actions and how it may affect a study. It is often counted out because they can’t accurately put forth results of the study. Even though these studies did offer additional cash for correct answers it didn’t have a profound effect one way or another when it came down to it. Partakers didn’t do any better knowing they would get extra money. It also touched on how the other studies were executed and how they ended their work. There was a positive effect noted across the multitaskers and this was ascertained using the bootstrap estimation approach, this approach is like a random sampling methodology that can be used so that it represents the population eliminating biases. I found it interesting that extra cash incentives didn’t affect performance. The underlying theory was in this day and age multitasking is becoming more and more of a necessity. Can people actually multitask? It sets out to support how our perception of something weighs in on our capabilities and it sets out to support that if we see something as a multitasking task, we tend to be more attentive versus bunching it together like monotasking. It set out to support that how we perceive things matter. We are more actively engaged in multitasking as opposed to monotasking. The initial hypothesis set out to support whether multitasking is possible, but also its effect on performance. It had a positive effect when people knew or perceived it as a multitasking task versus the monotask. It is in no way better than monotasking but we just tend to engage more with a multitasking task. I do think that the results that were yielded did accurately reflect the hypothesis. The researchers were able to ascertain performance based on whether it’s participants were told that they were mono tasking or multitasking. They were able to answer that while mono tasking isn’t necessarily superior just that we actively tend to engage more with multitasking. It had a positive effect on performance when its partakers thought a task required a multitasking outlook. It stated throughout its contents that As predicted participants and that was a good indicator to me that the results were as they predicted and the outcome although not exact was pretty close when the researchers brought everything to a close. Although not every single study was paid across the 32 specific studies done, almost every study was and often offered additional cash incentives for correct solutions. Although in their endeavors they wrote off the portion where they supported that there wasn’t a significant effect when they were paid I would like to see more research in the area. I think if they manipulated and framed the participants where they believed some participants were paid and some weren’t maybe it would incentivise them more to do their best providing they leave out the rules for whom will be paid or offer that it would be entirely randomized. As discussed in Cognitive Psychology class, we have attention bucks that we choose how to spend. One thing may grab our attention and it depends on our ability to focus and what we deem important that current instance. That being said, I would be curious as to why we engage in multitasking as opposed to monotasking. I would propose that a study be conducted why we engage more in multitasking than monotasking. A study that helped to explain this phenomenon because you would think if a task is simple like one task, it would be easier. What about our processing makes several tasks easier to engage and one task more difficult? I believe it has to do with the difficulty of the task.

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