Multitasking Behavior

by Amanda Spink, Charles Cole, Mary Waller
Annual Review of Information Science and Technology ()


"This chapter does not attempt to furnish an overview of multitasking research in every scientific discipline. Rather, we highlight the importance of multitasking in the cognitive and information sciences and the need for further research on multitasking, particularly within the context of information behavior. Why are we interested in multitasking? Why is multitasking an important theoretical and practical phenomenon for the cognitive and information sciences, and particularly for theories and models of information behavior? Multitasking has no doubt always been an essential human behavior. However, unlike earlier research on microanalyses of brain and memory structure/capacity (Miller, 1956), multitasking pushes brain and memory research into a more global consideration of human existence. Reasons for our increased interest in the phenomenon are societys heightened interest in security concerns, the evolution of a workplace with workers now required to perform tasks formerly performed by others, and above all the pervasiveness of communication devices in both work and leisure activities."

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