The effect of individual differences on how people handle interruptions

Meys, Hilkka L. and Sanderson, Penelope M. (2013). The effect of individual differences on how people handle interruptions. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 57th Annual Meeting. HFES 2013: 57th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, San Diego, CA, U.S.A., (868-872). 30 September-4 October 2013. doi:10.1177/1541931213571188

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Author Meys, Hilkka L.
Sanderson, Penelope M.
Title of paper The effect of individual differences on how people handle interruptions
Conference name HFES 2013: 57th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Conference location San Diego, CA, U.S.A.
Conference dates 30 September-4 October 2013
Proceedings title Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 57th Annual Meeting   Check publisher's open access policy
Journal name Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting   Check publisher's open access policy
Place of Publication Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
Publisher Sage Publications
Publication Year 2013
Sub-type Fully published paper
DOI 10.1177/1541931213571188
ISBN 9780945289432
ISSN 2169-5067
1541-9312
Volume 57
Issue 1
Start page 868
End page 872
Total pages 5
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Some people handle interrupting and distracting events better than others, but it is not clear how to predict this. We hypothesised that when performing a primary ongoing task, people with a field independent cognitive style would be less distracted from their task by interruptions, and less likely to accept interruptions, than people with a field dependent cognitive style. We also hypothesized that when returning to the original task after an interruption, people with high spatial ability would have better memory for the physical location of their original activity, and people with high working memory would have better memory for the factual contents of their original activity. Our study participants performed an arithmetic task that was interrupted at arbitrary moments by a lexical decision task. Results showed that participants with high working memory remembered the location and contents of their original activity faster and more accurately than did participants with low working memory. Field dependence did not predict participants’ willingness to accept interruptions, and spatial ability did not predict how quickly or accurately they returned to the physical location of their original activity. However, the psychometric test instruments we chose may not have been the most appropriate. Our results confirm that working memory plays an important role in helping people recover interruptions and distractions, but further and more precise tests of field dependence and spatial ability are needed.
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Sat, 02 Nov 2013, 18:35:55 EST by Professor Penelope Sanderson on behalf of School of Psychology