The Relationship Between Media Multitasking and Executive Function in Early Adolescents

The authors note the increasing prevalence of media multitasking among adolescents is concerning because it may be negatively related to goal-directed behavior. This study investigated the relationship between media multitasking and executive function in 523 early adolescents (aged 11-15; 48% girls). The three central components of executive functions (i.e., working memory, shifting, and inhibition) were measured using self-reports and standardized performance-based tasks (Digit Span, Eriksen Flankers task, Dots–Triangles task). Findings indicated that adolescents who media multitask more frequently reported having more problems in the three domains of executive function in their everyday lives. Media multitasking was not related to the performance on the Digit Span and Dots–Triangles task. Adolescents who media multitasked more frequently tended to be better in ignoring irrelevant distractions in the Eriksen Flankers task. The authors report results suggest that media multitasking is negatively related to executive function in everyday life.

Baumgartner, Susanne E., Weeda, Wouter D., van der Heijden, Lisa L., and Huizinga, Mariette. (2014). The Relationship Between Media Multitasking and Executive Function in Early Adolescents. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 34, 1120-1144.

About rickyWburk

Ricky W. Burk, CCC-SLP, BCS-F, is a speech-language pathologist who provides in-home therapy for adolescents and adults residing in Tennessee and Mississippi who stutter. His career includes PreK, elementary, middle, and high school practice, undergraduate & graduate faculty appointments, skilled nursing, national & international consultation, private practice, and national & international speaking presentations. He holds the American Speech-Language Hearing Association Certificate of Clinical Competence, and he is a Board Certified Specialist in Fluency Disorders. He is the ASHA Continuing Education Administrator for the National Association for Speech Fluency.
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