Exploring the relationship between executive functions and self-reported media-multitasking in young adults

Alexandra L. Seddon*, Anna S. Law, Anne-Marie Adams, Fiona R. Simmons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Media-multitasking involves simultaneous engagement with information streams from multiple media sources, and is most prevalent in young adults. Heavy media-multitasking has been associated with differential performance on tasks involving attentional control and working memory relative to light media-multitasking. The aim of the present study was to systematically investigate relationships between executive functions and self-reported media-multitasking. Healthy participants (N = 112, aged 18–25, male N = 36) completed a battery of 10 traditional executive function tasks, that included assessments of attentional inhibition, response inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Scores on the individual executive function tasks were correlated against frequency of self-reported media-multitasking, but no significant relationships were found. Trait anxiety, however, was found to be significantly associated with greater frequency of self-reported media-multitasking. The present study found no evidence of a relationship between the frequency of self-reported media-multitasking and executive functioning. The possible reasons for this are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728-742
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue number7
Early online date21 Sep 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • media-multitasking
  • attentional inhibition
  • working memory
  • cognitive flexibility
  • trait anxiety


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