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Freedom makes you lose control : executive control deficits for heavy versus light media multitaskers and the implications for advertising effectiveness

(2019) EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF MARKETING. 53(5). p.848-870
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Abstract
Purpose Past research suggests that heavy media multitaskers (HMMs) perform worse on tasks that require executive control, compared to light media multitaskers (LMMs). This paper aims to investigate whether individual differences between HMMs and LMMs make them respond differently to advertising in a media multitasking context and whether this stems from differences in the ability versus the motivation to regulate one's attention. This is investigated by manipulating participants' autonomy over attention allocation. Design/methodology/approach For the first study (n = 85), a between subjects design with three conditions was used: sequential, multitasking under low autonomy over attention allocation and multitasking under high autonomy over attention allocation. This study investigated the inhibitory control of HMMs vs LMMs in a very controlled multitasking setting. The second study (n = 91) replicated the design of study one in a more naturalistic media multitasking setting and investigated the driving role of motivation vs ability for cognitive load differences between HMMs and LMMs and the consequent impact on advertising effectiveness. Findings Study I suggests that HMMs perform worse on a response inhibition task than LMMs after multitasking freely (in which case motivation to regulate attention determines the process), but not after their attention was guided externally by the experimenter (in which case their motivation could no longer determine the process). Study II argues that when motivation to switch attention is at play, cognitive load differences occur between HMMs and LMMs. This study additionally reveals that under these circumstances, HMMs are more persuaded by advertisements (report higher purchase intentions) compared to LMMs, while no differences appear when only ability is at play. Research limitations/implications - Executive control exists of different components (Miyake et al., 2000). The current study only focused on the impact of media multitasking frequency on response inhibition, but it would be interesting for future research to investigate whether media multitasking frequency equally affects the other sub-dimensions. Additionally, the impairment of response inhibition has been shown to predict a large number of other behavioral and impulse-control outcomes such as unhealthy food choices and alcohol and drug use (e.g. Friese et al., 2008). Future research should consider investigating other consequences of heavy media multitasking behavior, both advertising related and unrelated. Practical implications - From a practical point of view, understanding the mechanisms that are driving the effects of media multitasking on advertising effectiveness for different groups of media-consumers could make it easier for practitioners to efficiently plan their media campaigns. Based on the findings of this study, the authors can derive that HMMs will be more depleted in cognitive resources and inhibitory control when media multitasking compared to LMMs. Consequently, this makes them more prone to advertising messages. This knowledge is of great importance for advertisers who could, based here on, aim to target HMMs more often than LMMs. Originality/value Two experimental studies by the authors confirm and add value to previous academic findings about the negative relation between media multitasking frequency and tasks that demand executive control. This study contributed to the previous by investigating whether individual differences between heavy and light media multitaskers make them respond differently toward advertising and whether the driving mechanism of these differences is a lack of motivation or ability to efficiently shift attention.
Keywords
Advertising effectiveness, Cognitive load, Media multitasking, Response inhibition

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MLA
Beuckels, Emma, et al. “Freedom Makes You Lose Control : Executive Control Deficits for Heavy versus Light Media Multitaskers and the Implications for Advertising Effectiveness.” EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF MARKETING, vol. 53, no. 5, 2019, pp. 848–70.
APA
Beuckels, E., Kazakova, S., Cauberghe, V., Hudders, L., & De Pelsmacker, P. (2019). Freedom makes you lose control : executive control deficits for heavy versus light media multitaskers and the implications for advertising effectiveness. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF MARKETING, 53(5), 848–870.
Chicago author-date
Beuckels, Emma, Snezhanka Kazakova, Veroline Cauberghe, Liselot Hudders, and Patrick De Pelsmacker. 2019. “Freedom Makes You Lose Control : Executive Control Deficits for Heavy versus Light Media Multitaskers and the Implications for Advertising Effectiveness.” EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF MARKETING 53 (5): 848–70.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Beuckels, Emma, Snezhanka Kazakova, Veroline Cauberghe, Liselot Hudders, and Patrick De Pelsmacker. 2019. “Freedom Makes You Lose Control : Executive Control Deficits for Heavy versus Light Media Multitaskers and the Implications for Advertising Effectiveness.” EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF MARKETING 53 (5): 848–870.
Vancouver
1.
Beuckels E, Kazakova S, Cauberghe V, Hudders L, De Pelsmacker P. Freedom makes you lose control : executive control deficits for heavy versus light media multitaskers and the implications for advertising effectiveness. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF MARKETING. 2019;53(5):848–70.
IEEE
[1]
E. Beuckels, S. Kazakova, V. Cauberghe, L. Hudders, and P. De Pelsmacker, “Freedom makes you lose control : executive control deficits for heavy versus light media multitaskers and the implications for advertising effectiveness,” EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF MARKETING, vol. 53, no. 5, pp. 848–870, 2019.
@article{8618498,
  abstract     = {Purpose Past research suggests that heavy media multitaskers (HMMs) perform worse on tasks that require executive control, compared to light media multitaskers (LMMs). This paper aims to investigate whether individual differences between HMMs and LMMs make them respond differently to advertising in a media multitasking context and whether this stems from differences in the ability versus the motivation to regulate one's attention. This is investigated by manipulating participants' autonomy over attention allocation. Design/methodology/approach For the first study (n = 85), a between subjects design with three conditions was used: sequential, multitasking under low autonomy over attention allocation and multitasking under high autonomy over attention allocation. This study investigated the inhibitory control of HMMs vs LMMs in a very controlled multitasking setting. The second study (n = 91) replicated the design of study one in a more naturalistic media multitasking setting and investigated the driving role of motivation vs ability for cognitive load differences between HMMs and LMMs and the consequent impact on advertising effectiveness. Findings Study I suggests that HMMs perform worse on a response inhibition task than LMMs after multitasking freely (in which case motivation to regulate attention determines the process), but not after their attention was guided externally by the experimenter (in which case their motivation could no longer determine the process). Study II argues that when motivation to switch attention is at play, cognitive load differences occur between HMMs and LMMs. This study additionally reveals that under these circumstances, HMMs are more persuaded by advertisements (report higher purchase intentions) compared to LMMs, while no differences appear when only ability is at play. Research limitations/implications - Executive control exists of different components (Miyake et al., 2000). The current study only focused on the impact of media multitasking frequency on response inhibition, but it would be interesting for future research to investigate whether media multitasking frequency equally affects the other sub-dimensions. Additionally, the impairment of response inhibition has been shown to predict a large number of other behavioral and impulse-control outcomes such as unhealthy food choices and alcohol and drug use (e.g. Friese et al., 2008). Future research should consider investigating other consequences of heavy media multitasking behavior, both advertising related and unrelated. Practical implications - From a practical point of view, understanding the mechanisms that are driving the effects of media multitasking on advertising effectiveness for different groups of media-consumers could make it easier for practitioners to efficiently plan their media campaigns. Based on the findings of this study, the authors can derive that HMMs will be more depleted in cognitive resources and inhibitory control when media multitasking compared to LMMs. Consequently, this makes them more prone to advertising messages. This knowledge is of great importance for advertisers who could, based here on, aim to target HMMs more often than LMMs. Originality/value Two experimental studies by the authors confirm and add value to previous academic findings about the negative relation between media multitasking frequency and tasks that demand executive control.
This study contributed to the previous by investigating whether individual differences between heavy and light media multitaskers make them respond differently toward advertising and whether the driving mechanism of these differences is a lack of motivation or ability to efficiently shift attention.},
  author       = {Beuckels, Emma and Kazakova, Snezhanka and Cauberghe, Veroline and Hudders, Liselot and De Pelsmacker, Patrick},
  issn         = {0309-0566},
  journal      = {EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF MARKETING},
  keywords     = {Advertising effectiveness,Cognitive load,Media multitasking,Response inhibition},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {848--870},
  title        = {Freedom makes you lose control : executive control deficits for heavy versus light media multitaskers and the implications for advertising effectiveness},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/EJM-09-2017-0588},
  volume       = {53},
  year         = {2019},
}

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