Mapping attention across multiple media tasks

Jacob T. Fisher, Frederic R. Hopp, René Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Paying attention to media requires continuously selecting and processing relevant information while filtering out numerous competing stimuli. Although the factors that drive attention toward or away from a single media task are relatively well characterized, there is a lack of understanding regarding how attention to media functions in the presence of multiple, concurrent tasks. In this manuscript, we report findings from four experiments investigating this question. Results indicate that, rather than attention being based on a strict hierarchy between “primary” and “secondary” tasks, attentional resources are distributed across concurrent media tasks based on the (relative) rewardingness and effortfulness of each task. More rewarding tasks elicited more attention, and the attention-capturing influence of rewarding “secondary” tasks was magnified when the “primary” task was more cognitively effortful. These results provide support for recent theoretical advancements in media psychology research and point to promising future directions using updated models of motivated attention to predict the allocation of attentional resources across multiple concurrent tasks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedia Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

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