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Psicothema was founded in Asturias (northern Spain) in 1989, and is published jointly by the Psychology Faculty of the University of Oviedo and the Psychological Association of the Principality of Asturias (Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos del Principado de Asturias).
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Media multitasking impact in homework, executive function and academic performance in Spanish adolescents

María de las Mercedes Martín-Perpiñá, Ferran Viñas Poch, and Sara Malo Cerrato

Universitat de Girona

Background: The emergence of multi-function devices has created a perceived need to always be connected to multiple media devices, which is called media multitasking. This phenomenon is linked to deficits in cognitive control affecting executive function and learning and academic achievement in adolescents. The present study aimed to explore the relationship of MM, executive functions and academic performance. Method: The sample comprised 977 students aged between 11 and 18 from 6 schools. Media multitasking while doing homework was assessed by the media multitasking index (MMI); executive function was assessed using the DEX-SP and three WISC-IV Subscales; participants’ current school marks for mathematics and Spanish language were used to assess academic performance. Results: Media multitasking in adolescents is negatively related to executive function and academic achievement. Adolescents who media multitask more while doing homework report more dysexecutive problems. The results of a subsample (n=114) show worse cognitive functioning of the components related to working memory and process speed and lower academic achievement in language and mathematics. Conclusions: In the current environment of technology overload, where MM is increasingly frequent, it is necessary to develop adaptive strategies that allow adolescents to focus their attention on tasks and avoid distractions.

Impacto del Media multitasking en las tareas escolares, funciones ejecutivas y rendimiento académico en adolescentes españoles. Antecedentes: la aparición de dispositivos multifunción ha creado la necesidad de estar constantemente conectados a múltiples dispositivos multimedia simultáneamente, dando lugar al media multitasking. Este fenómeno se relaciona con déficits de control cognitivo que pueden afectar a la función ejecutiva y el aprendizaje. El objetivo principal es explorar la relación entre media multitasking, funciones ejecutivas y rendimiento académico. Método: la muestra es de 977 estudiantes de 11-18 años de 6 centros educativos. Se calculó el Índice de media multitasking mientras realizaban tareas escolares; se evaluaron las funciones ejecutivas utilizando el DEX-SP y tres subescalas del WISC-IV; y se tuvieron en cuenta las notas de matemáticas y lengua. Resultados: el media multitasking está negativamente relacionado con la función ejecutiva y el rendimiento académico. Los adolescentes que realizaban más media multitasking mientras hacían los deberes informaron de más problemas disejecutivos.  Los resultados obtenidos en una sub-muestra (n=114)  indicaron un peor funcionamiento cognitivo en tareas que implicaban memoria de trabajo y velocidad de procesamiento e informaron de menor rendimiento académico en lengua y matemáticas. Conclusiones: para reducir un impacto negativo del media multitasking es necesario promover el desarrollo de estrategias que permitan a los adolescentes centrar su atención en las tareas evitando distracciones.

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Impact factor 2021:   JCR (WOS): 3.890 (Q1)   |   SJR (Scopus) : 1.308 (Q1)    |  CiteScore 2020: 5,3