The relations between executive functions, media multitasking and polychronicity

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Excessive media multitasking has been associated in a series of laboratory studies, with deficits in executive functions. Given that the levels of laboratory and everyday functioning do not always correspond, it is unclear whether media multitasking is associated with limitations in everyday executive functions as well. The current study examined the relationships between media multitasking and ecological self-report measures of executive functions, attention and a measure of individual preference for multitasking. The results demonstrated that participants who reported more deficits with different aspects of everyday executive functions and attention were engaged more frequently in media multitasking. Media multitasking was correlated most strongly with limitations in self-monitoring, emotional control, planning, task monitoring and inattention. Additionally, individuals who reported more deficits in executive functions and attention also reported a higher preference for multitasking over single-tasking. Taken together, the present study demonstrates that frequent media multitasking is associated with deficits in many aspects of everyday goal-directed behavior. The results generalize previous findings to self-report ecological measures of executive functions, and associate media multitasking with impairments in additional yet unexplored aspects of executive functions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Executive functions
  • Impulsivity
  • Inattention
  • Media multitasking
  • Polychronicity

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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