The Role of Social Media and Mindfulness in Adolescents’ Divided Attention

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The Role of Social Media and Mindfulness in Adolescents’ Divided Attention

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In this study, we examine the potential effects of a short mindfulness intervention on divided attention in adolescents. Recently, social media has been demanding increasing amounts of divided attention among its users. Understanding how to mediate these impacts is vital to helping today’s adolescents successfully retain attentive capabilities. We recruited middle and high school students at a local charter school to participate. Students were given a 5-minute open monitoring, focused attention, or control listening exercise. Then, we administered a measure of divided attention created for this study. In this, participants watched a 2-minute dual-stream video and were instructed to either pay attention to the video on the left only (and not get distracted by the other video) or to watch both videos simultaneously (divide their attention). Then, participants answered a series of questions about both videos to measure their information retention. We found no significant effects of mindfulness on divided attention, nor support for the efficacy of the divided attention measure. Future directions are discussed.


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This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

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Haig, Michaela; Martin, Timothy; Zelazo, Philip. (2024). The Role of Social Media and Mindfulness in Adolescents’ Divided Attention. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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