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Michael Livingston, Psychology


This study investigated whether multitasking would have an effect on motor performance. Specifically, I observed undergraduate students from a midwestern liberal arts college—College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. In past research, Schwebel, McClure, & Porter (2017) had observed various college students about distracted pedestrian behavior on their college campus. Their results found changes in self-reports about their intentions, but not a specific behavior change. The undergraduates that participated in this study (N = 20) were assigned to two conditions by block randomization. Then they were given the task to walk down and back up a flight of stairs in the Henrita Academic Building at the College of Saint Benedict. Participants were measured in seconds with a stopwatch on how long it took them to walk down and then up a flight of stairs. Participants in the control condition were asked to walk down and then up the stairs at a normal pace, not skipping any steps, with no distractions. Participants in the experimental condition were asked to respond to various text messages that were sent to them while walking down and up the stairs. A t-test of independent means was calculated to analyze the data of this experiment. The results showed a statistically significant mean difference between the two conditions p = .000, d = 4.1. This suggests that multitasking while performing a motor task, demonstrates some impact on how long it takes for an individual to successfully complete the task.