Gain in quantity and novelty of work in intermittent task switching

Prabu David, Ying Chia Hsu*, Chen Chao Tao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The preponderance of evidence in the literature suggests that intermittent tasks reduce productivity and quality of work. In a task switching study, with intermittent tasks appearing once a minute or once every three minutes, we examined attention allocation and the effect of switching on the quantity and novelty of work. Self-reported estimates matched attention allocation obtained from eye fixations, indicating awareness and volitional control of attention. Arousal, quantity, and novelty of work were higher in the switching conditions in comparison to the single task condition. The findings point to the possibility of a quickening effect induced by switching that may be beneficial for work under specific task conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-239
Number of pages13
JournalInformation Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • Attention control
  • goal hierarchy
  • multitasking
  • primary task
  • task switching


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