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Research Bernoulli Institute Cognitive Modeling Research

PhD project: Towards safe and productive multitasking

Name: Ioanna Katidioti

prof. dr. N.A. (Niels) Taatgen
Period: March 2013- March 2016

People multitask constantly, while working, studying, cleaning the house, even driving. Many times multitasking behavior is a result of interruptions, either external (e.g. a phone ringing) or self-interruptions (e.g. when one decides to stop working in order to check social media). Self-interruptions are of specific interest: it is widely known that staying focused at one task at a time is better than multitasking, yet self-interruptions are very common.

My project focuses on the mechanisms behind self-interruptions. In Katidioti & Taatgen (2014) people choose to self-interrupt on suboptimal moments when the cognitive resources for the interrupting task are free. In Katidioti, Borst, & Taatgen (in press) we used pupil dilation to show that the decision to interrupt takes some seconds, creates an increase in pupil dilation and has more time costs than an external interruption. In Katidioti, Borst, van Vugt & Taatgen (in preparation) we demonstrate that people are more distracted as the cognitive resources for the distractor become more available, regardless of the task difficulty. The next step of the project would be to explore more the relationship between resource availability and distractibility and to establish whether external interruptions or self-interruptions are more disruptive.

Screenshot of experiment
Screenshot of experiment
Last modified:31 May 2022 12.50 p.m.