Seeing the Big Picture: Multitasking and Memory for the Ad
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picture and write down what they saw in the scene. In the analytic condition, the small objects
were given next to the scene and participants were asked to find those objects, which were
embedded in the picture, as many as possible within a limited time. To identify the embedded
figures encourages field independence, which is the key feature of analytic thinkers (Nisbett et
al, 2001). On the contrary, to focus on the background encourages field dependence, which is the
key characteristic of holistic thinkers.
In addition to the two main dependent measures used in Study 1a, Study 1b also
measured participant’s attention to the ads and perceived difficulty of the computer task.
Participant’s attention to the ads was measured by 9-point scale on a statement (1= I paid no
attention to the ads and 9 = I paid total attention to the ads. The perceived difficulty of the overall
computer task was measured by 9-point scale on a statement of 1 = the overall computer task
was not at all difficult and 9 = the overall computer task was very difficult. Finally, participants
were asked to rate on 24 items of thinking style scales that were adopted from Choi et al, (2008).
Study 1b- Results
Due to computer error, the dual-task condition had data from only 7 participants that was
usable. Therefore, this condition was dropped from analysis and all results are from the
remaining participants in the single or three task conditions (N= 106). To assess participant’s
attention to the additional tasks, they had to type the monitored information as it appeared ‘xz’
and ‘.’. This served as a check on the attention as being divided.
Participants were also asked to assess their own attention to the ads and the difficulty of
the overall computer task. Those in the single task condition reported paying more attention to
the ads (M-single= 6.45 vs. M-multi= 5.43), t(99)= 2.25, p<.03) and reported that the overall
Seeing the Big Picture: Submitted to AEJMC 2011