“Cognitive control in media multitaskers” ten years on: A meta-analysis



In the decade since Ophir, Nass, and Wagner’s (2009) seminal study numerous researchers have investigated possible associations between media multitasking and cognitive control. Extending recent reviews, the present study provides a synthesis of extant research into this association across measurement approachs and cognitive functions. Following a systematic search and selection process, 118 assessments were included in the meta-analysis. Overall, the pooled effect size of the association, across measurement approaches and cognitive control functions, is small. This association is moderated both by the measurement approach as well as by the outcome variables targeted. These differences are tested and explained in detail. Building on the findings, it is recommended that research be conducted to determine the sources of heterogeneity in outcomes, understand differences between measurement approaches, and address causality and theoretical mechanisms. Overall, the review suggests that, ten years on, we are no closer to understanding ‘cognitive control in media multitaskers.’

Media multitasking; cognitive control; meta-analysis; executive function; distraction
Author biography

Douglas A. Parry

Stellenbosch University


References marked with an asterisk indicate studies included in the meta-analysis.

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