The Effects of Positive and Negative Self-Interruptions in Discretionary Multitasking

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Conference Proceeding

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Human multitasking is often the result of self-initiated interruptions in the performance of an ongoing task. Compared to externally induced interruptions, self-interruptions have not received enough research attention. To address this gap, this paper develops a detailed classification of self-interruptions rooted in positive and negative feelings of task progress based on responses subjects provided after completing a multitasking laboratory experiment. The results suggest that multitasking due to negative feelings is associated with more self-interruptions than those triggered by positive feelings and that more self-interruptions may produce lower accuracy in all tasks. Therefore, negative internal triggers of self-interruptions seem to unleash a downward spiral that ultimately affects performance.


The work available here is the abstract.

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Proceedings of the CHI 2012 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computer Systems

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