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Individual differences fill the uncharted intersections between cognitive structure, flexibility, and plasticity in multitasking

Broeker, Laura; Brüning, Jovita; Fandakova, Yana; Khosravani, Neda; Kiesel, Andrea; Kubik, Veit; Kübler, Sebastian; Manzey, Dietrich; Monno, Irina; Raab, Markus; Schubert, Torsten

FG Arbeits-, Ingenieur- und Organisationspsychologie

It has been recently suggested that research on human multitasking is best organized according to three research perspectives, which differ in their focus on cognitive structure, flexibility, and plasticity. Even though it is argued that the perspectives should be seen as complementary, there has not been a formal approach describing or explaining the intersections between the three perspectives. With this theoretical note, we would like to show that the explicit consideration of individual differences is one possible way to elaborate in more detail on how and why the perspectives complement each other. We will define structure, flexibility, and plasticity; describe what constitutes individual differences; will outline selected empirical examples; and raise possible future research questions helping to develop the research field.