Purpose: The longitudinal impact of media multitasking on the development of executive function has been understudied, as most of the existing studies are cross-sectional. This longitudinal study addresses this research gap and uses multiple measures, i.e. behavioral and self-reported, to explore the impact of media multitasking on the executive function of Chinese adolescents.
Design/methodology/approach: This study followed 99 Chinese adolescents (Mage = 14.41, SD = 1.10; 42 boys and 57 girls) for one year using both behavioral (2-back, Stroop Color and Number-letter tasks) and self-reported (questionnaire) measures. The adolescents were categorized as either heavy/high media multitaskers (HMMs; 19 boys and 29 girls) or light/low media multitaskers (LMMs; 23 boys and 28 girls). They were tested at baseline, 6 months later and 12 months later.
Findings: The results indicated that the accuracy scores for all cognitive tasks differed with age, but the switch-cost in the shifting task and the self-reported measures of executive function did not. And there were consistent differences between the HMMs and LMMs in the self-reported measures and 2-back accuracy. However, the interaction effect was found only in shifting ability, indicating a decline in the LMMs' self-reported problematic shifting behavior in daily life.
Originality/value: This study used behavioral and self-reported measures to confirm the longitudinal impact of media multitasking on executive function. The impact of media multitasking on executive function is more apparent in daily-life behavior than in cognitive task performance. Copyright © 2021 Emerald Publishing Limited.
CitationLuo, J., Yeung, P.-S., & Li, H. (2022). Impact of media multitasking on executive function in adolescents: Behavioral and self-reported evidence from a one-year longitudinal study. Internet Research, 32(4), 1310-1328. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-01-2021-0078
- Media multitasking
- Executive function
- Longitudinal study
- Multiple methods