Studies such as Nass et. al.’s “Cognitive Control in Media Multitaskers” have demonstrated on a general level that media multitaskers are actually rapidly task-switching and that the attentional costs of switching focus degrades efficiency in accomplishing individual tasks. But that research is just the beginning. Important to infotention is what is not yet known about how effective attentional training can be.
“Members of Desimone’s lab are now studying how the brain shifts its focus between different types of sensory input, such as vision and hearing. They are also investigating whether it might be possible to train people to better focus their attention by controlling the brain interactions involved in this process.
“You have to identify the basic neural mechanisms and do basic research studies, which sometimes generate ideas for things that could be of practical benefit,” Desimone says. “It’s too early to say whether this training is even going to work at all, but it’s something that we’re actively pursuing.”