Multitasking as Simultaneous Execution and as a Task Shift: Approaches to Diagnostic of Media-Multitasking and its Efficacy in Children and Adolescents



The transformation of the problem of multitasking as an object of experimental cognitive psychology into a General psychological problem of constant combination of several activities, provoked by information technologies and which has become a social criterion for a successful person, requires a comparison of different approaches to definition, modeling and diagnostics. The aim of this study is to compare the features of media multitasking as simultaneous task completion and switching between them in schoolchildren. 57 primary school students, 54 teenagers aged 11—13 and 46 teenagers aged 14—16 solved a series of tasks presented simultaneously in windows on a computer and sequentially in the form of SMS messages to a mobile phone. According to the results, multitasking as simultaneous task completion was observed in only 4.5% of children and adolescents and was not associated with multitasking as switching between tasks. Multitasking as delaying and returning to tasks was typical for every second child and increased with age, but it was also not associated with the speed and efficiency of task completion. By the age of 11—13, children are characterized by attempts to speed up and optimize activities in a multitasking environment through various, often ineffective strategies. Attempts to speed up and optimize tasks are more typical and, according to our data, are formed earlier among boys. The results are discussed in the context of the hypothesis that the development of multitasking in children and adolescents should be considered as the formation of strategies for solving problems in a multitasking environment.

General Information

Keywords: multitasking, media multitasking, social situation, adolescents, efficiency

Journal rubric: Cognitive Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The reported study was funded by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project number 19-29-14181.

For citation: Soldatova G.U., Rasskazova E.I. Multitasking as Simultaneous Execution and as a Task Shift: Approaches to Diagnostic of Media-Multitasking and its Efficacy in Children and Adolescents. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2020. Vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 88–101. DOI: 10.17759/exppsy.2020130406. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Galina U. Soldatova, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Professor, Department of Personality Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Head of the Department of Social Psychology, Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Elena I. Rasskazova, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Neuro- and Patopsychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Senior Researcher,Mental Health Research Center, Senior Researcher, International Laboratory of Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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