Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952606 | Print ISBN: 9781412905305 | Online ISBN: 9781412952606| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Divided Attention, Parallel Processing and
David R. Roskos-Ewoldsen
Divided attention (also known as dual attention ) refers to a person's ability to split his or her attention between one or more different things simultaneously, such as cooking and watching TV. Parallel processing involves a person's ability to process information coming from different sources simultaneously. If a child looks at the clock while watching TV in order to answer a parent's question about how long until the show is over, the child is parallel processing the show on TV, the request for information, and the calculation of how long until show is over. Media scholars are interested in divided attention and parallel processing to better understand how children and adults process media messages. In addition, much of this research is concerned with designing better educational programming for children. When a child watches television, he or she has a lot to do. First, several things may be occurring on the ...