“Oh sorry….Am I interrupting?” An investigation of the role of individual differences and the nature of interruptions

Bala, Sheena (2012). “Oh sorry….Am I interrupting?” An investigation of the role of individual differences and the nature of interruptions Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Bala, Sheena
Thesis Title “Oh sorry….Am I interrupting?” An investigation of the role of individual differences and the nature of interruptions
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-10-14
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Penelope
Total pages 113
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary The present study investigated the role of individual differences and the nature of interruptions. In particular, this study examined the influence of working memory capacity, spatial memory and field dependence-independence, which were measured using the Automated Operation Span Test, the Corsi Block-Tapping Test, the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire, the Formal Characteristics of Behaviour-Temperament Inventory and the Group Embedded Figures Test. The interruptions presented were manipulated by choice (optional vs. compulsory) and difficulty (easy vs. hard). The aim of this study was to identify whether individual differences might affect how people handle interruptions. The participants were 40 university students who completed the experiment in two sessions. In the first session, the psychometric tests were administered to participants and in the second session, a computer-based cognitive-interruption task was completed. In particular, it was hypothesised that individuals with higher working memory capacity and higher spatial memory would be more efficient and accurate at resuming an interrupted task than those with lower working memory capacity and spatial memory. Individuals who were more field independent would be less likely to accept distractions and would perform better when resuming their task. In addition, it was predicted that individuals would be more affected by interruptions that were more difficult. The findings did not reveal any support to the hypotheses above. Instead, the possibilities were explored for why this occurred and the further steps researchers should take. This research has many implications for interruption-management skills in different workplaces.
Keyword Interruptions
Individual differences

 
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Created: Tue, 10 Jun 2014, 14:17:22 EST by Danico Jones on behalf of School of Psychology