CHAPTER 2

What is Multitasking?

What exactly is meant by multitasking? Different disciplines have approached the subject of multitasking ranging from cognitive science, psychology, education, human factors, to management science. A wealth of laboratory studies exist which have examined people’s ability to conduct two tasks simultaneously, varying along domains, task complexity, task duration, and other measures. Yet only fairly recently in the last ten years have researchers become interested in multitasking when doing computer work. Here I examine multitasking in a real-world environment as opposed to a controlled setting in a laboratory.

Different fields have developed different notions of multitasking. In the field of communications, media ...

Get Multitasking in the Digital Age now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.