Document Type

Article - On Campus Only

Publication Date



While commercial media are increasingly attended to in multitasking contexts, advertising research is dominated by sequential marketing communication models where the consumer is a passive receiver of one type of media at a time. This study examines media multitasking behaviors and experiences among young consumers. Media multitasking is the practice of participating in multiple exposures to two or more commercial media forms at a single point in time, including traditional, online, social, and entertainment media. Prior research argues that multitasking results in diminished comprehension and performance. Through a qualitative approach with a sample of 64 young consumers involving interviews and collages, this study highlights the paradoxical experiences of media multitasking. The authors develop a conceptual model that explains the personal benefits and costs associated with media multitasking, and proposes its impact on consumers' motivation, ability and opportunity (the MAO model) to process commercial media content. Further, the study suggests an inverted-U relationship between media multitasking and the MAO model and proposes four behavioral coping moderators to this relationship.

Recommended Citation

Bardhi, F., Rohm, A.J. and Sultan, F. (2010), Tuning in and tuning out: media multitasking among young consumers. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 9: 316-332. DOI: 10.1002/cb.320