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Michael Livingston, Psychology


In today’s world, the use of media outlets has become an essential facet of daily life. One of the largest forms of media is distributed through the television streaming company Netflix. Netflix has become the world’s central line for screen-time entertainment, with over 62 million subscribers utilizing its streaming services (Mander, 2015). The present study asked whether screen-time multitasking affects attention and retention abilities in academic performance. In order to examine the main effect of media multitasking, I conducted a randomly assigned, single blind between groups study that manipulated the use of media multitasking and comprehension testing. An experimental group of undergraduate students (N=10) were told to complete a reading passage and follow-up comprehension questions while having a comedic five minute segment of “The Office” play in the background. The control group of undergraduate students (N=10) read the passage and took the comprehension test in a silent setting, without media influence. The results indicated that the experimental group required significantly longer times to complete the reading and comprehension questions (p<.013) In addition, the group exposed to media multitasking scored significantly lower on the comprehension questions (p<.035) and reported lower levels of confidence in relation to overall comprehension of the reading passage (p<.04).