Distractor filtering in media multitaskers.
A growing amount of modern media is consumed simultaneously, a phenomenon known as 'media multitasking'. Individuals who regularly engage in this activity, heavy media multitaskers (HMMs), are more affected by irrelevant information that can intrude into a primary task than are light media multitaskers (LMMs--Ophir et al, 2009 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 106 15583). However, the locus of this deficit is unknown, as previous research is consistent with both memory and attentional explanations. Here, we isolated attentional processes by employing a singleton distractor task with low working-memory demands. In this task, LMMs used top-down information to improve their performance, yet HMMs did not. This difference in performance in an established attentional capture task argues for the presence of attentional differences in HMMs and is consistent with the idea that HMMs maintain a wider attentional scope than LMMs, even when instructed otherwise.
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