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Description: Successful media processing requires that an individual attend to relevant information embedded among numerous competing stimuli. In communication research, this process is often referred to as resource allocation. Although the factors that drive individuals to allocate resources toward or away from a single message are relatively well characterized, there is a lack of understanding regarding how resource allocation proceeds in the presence of multiple media tasks. In four experiments, we show that resource allocation is contingent on features of the “primary task” but also on other available tasks. Furthermore, we show that “secondary” tasks elicit more attention when they are more rewarding, and that the attention-capturing influence of these tasks is magnified when the “primary” task is more effortful. These results provide support for recent theoretical advancements in communication research and point to promising future directions using models of motivated attention to predict resource allocation across multiple media tasks.

Has supplemental materials for Mapping Attention Across Multiple Media Tasks on MediArXiv

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