The relation between task-unrelated media multitasking and task-related motivation.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In two experiments, we explored the relation between participants' (a) levels of motivation to complete a task and (b) task-unrelated media multitasking. In Experiment 1, we examined the extent to which participants' levels of motivation to complete a task influenced their tendency to engage in task-unrelated media multitasking. Participants completed a 1-back task, while having the opportunity to turn on and off an unrelated, optional video. Results showed that participants who were told they would finish the experiment early if they achieved a sufficient level of performance (the motivated group) were significantly less likely to play the optional video during the 1-back task than those who were not given the opportunity to finish early (control condition). In Experiment 2, we examined the extent to which engaging in task-unrelated media multitasking affected task-related motivation. Three groups of participants completed a 1-back task, while (a) no video was presented, (b) a video was continuously played, or (c) participants could turn on and off a video at their leisure (as in Experiment 1). At both the beginning and the end of Experiment 2, participants were asked to indicate their level of motivation to complete the task. Interestingly, results revealed that continuously having the video playing helped sustain task-related motivation. Thus, although greater motivation to perform a task reduces the likelihood of engaging in task-unrelated media multitasking, such media multitasking also appears to increase levels of motivation.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ralph, BCW; Smith, AC; Seli, P; Smilek, D

Published Date

  • February 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 85 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 408 - 422

PubMed ID

  • 31535206

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1430-2772

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0340-0727

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00426-019-01246-7


  • eng