The Impact of Affective Mood States on Multitasking Performance
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Multitasking is a task performance phenomenon that has become extremely common among organizational employees (Gonzalez & Mark, 2004; 2005). Multitasking requires that individuals focus cognitive resources on different tasks simultaneously, which may be done by switching attention rapidly between tasks (Pashler, 1994). Research suggests that an individual’s affective state may increase an individual’s cognitive attention (Derryberry 1993; Isen 2008a; 2008b), which could improve performance in a multitasking scenario. Watson and Cropanzano’s (1996) affective events theory posits that minor everyday can influence an individual’s affective state, which can in turn influence their performance in the work domain. The current study examined the impact that affective states have on multitasking ability, utilizing the dimensions of hedonic tone and arousal in line with Russell’s (1980) circumplex model of emotion. One hundred and twenty four undergraduate students took part in a mood induction study and multitasking simulation. Results indicate that there is an interaction between hedonic tone and activation on complex task performance, although no significant main effects were found. Implications for the impact of both hedonic tone and activation levels on task performance are discussed.