The Environmental and Technological Factors of Multitasking

The Environmental and Technological Factors of Multitasking

Lin Lin (University of North Texas, USA) and Bill Lipsmeyer (Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8356-1.ch001
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Research on multitasking, that is, conducting two or more tasks simultaneously or switching quickly between two or more tasks, has focused mostly on a human's capacity to do so inside their brain. However, our daily life experience indicates that our ability to multitask is not only dependent on our brain capacity, but is also related to other factors such as our environments and available resources. Different individuals may have different abilities to multitask due to their expertise, situational awareness, or ability to plan ahead. This chapter discusses the environmental and technological factors of multitasking based on a prior study. The goal is to expand interdisciplinary dialogues and research methodologies to better understand this prevalent phenomenon in our society.
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Literature On Multitasking

In this section, we will provide an overview of research on multitasking through the following lens: 1) limited brain capacity for multitasking; 2) partial attention or rapid switch; 3) cognitive load, automation, and expertise; 4) cultural perceptions of time and individual differences; 5) technological changes; and 6) the perceived new skills, needs and demands.

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