Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Christina M. Brown

Abstract

The present study investigated the framing of a dual-task and its effects on performance and mood. Framing a dual-task as either multitasking or an interruption deals with the interpretation of working on two or more tasks simultaneously, such as the nature of the presentation of the secondary task. A total of 81 undergraduate students (59 female) were recruited from Arcadia University to participate in the experiment. Participants were randomly assigned to either be multitasking (n = 28), interrupted (n = 28), or single-tasking (n = 25) with an essay task and an audio task. Participants’ moods were surveyed before and after the tasks, and their perceived performance and actual performance on both tasks were calculated. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that tasks framed as multitasking performed the worst, rated lower on their perceived performance, and had a more negative affect than when tasks were framed as an interruption or those single-tasking. Results also found that tasks framed as an interruption rated highest on perceived performance, performed the best, and had a more positive affect than the multitasking and single-tasking conditions. Implications are that actual performance suffers regardless if a dual-task is framed as multitasking or handling an interruption, but will have a slightly better outcome when it is a quick interruption. However, it is best to focus on one task at a time to be more productive and produce minimal errors than to focus on multiple tasks simultaneously.

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Framing a Dual-Task and its Effects on Performance and Mood

The present study investigated the framing of a dual-task and its effects on performance and mood. Framing a dual-task as either multitasking or an interruption deals with the interpretation of working on two or more tasks simultaneously, such as the nature of the presentation of the secondary task. A total of 81 undergraduate students (59 female) were recruited from Arcadia University to participate in the experiment. Participants were randomly assigned to either be multitasking (n = 28), interrupted (n = 28), or single-tasking (n = 25) with an essay task and an audio task. Participants’ moods were surveyed before and after the tasks, and their perceived performance and actual performance on both tasks were calculated. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that tasks framed as multitasking performed the worst, rated lower on their perceived performance, and had a more negative affect than when tasks were framed as an interruption or those single-tasking. Results also found that tasks framed as an interruption rated highest on perceived performance, performed the best, and had a more positive affect than the multitasking and single-tasking conditions. Implications are that actual performance suffers regardless if a dual-task is framed as multitasking or handling an interruption, but will have a slightly better outcome when it is a quick interruption. However, it is best to focus on one task at a time to be more productive and produce minimal errors than to focus on multiple tasks simultaneously.

 
 

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