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Measuring Multitasking Performance in the Face of Interruptions: Experimental Approach

Case
By: Ewa Szumowska Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

This case is devoted to multitasking (performing two or more simultaneous tasks) in the face of task-irrelevant interruptions. I first briefly present how multitasking performance is typically measured in an experimental setting and introduce dual-tasking and task-switching paradigms. Next, I present how handling interruptions is measured in laboratory experiments. Finally, I present two experimental methods that combine both multitasking and dealing with interruptions. I focus on task-irrelevant interruptions, which are differentiated from task-relevant interruptions. I also show that ignoring interruptions might lead to better multitasking performance, especially when task-irrelevant interruptions are involved. Possible method modifications for future studies are discussed.

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