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Media multitasking has brought concerns (e.g., lower productivity and performance) in multiple settings including college classrooms. The present study examined the behavior of texting in the classroom (TIC) by applying the behavioral economic demand theory while taking college students’ different attitudes and behaviors of TIC into consideration. Undergraduate students (109 females and 73 males for valid data, whose average age was 19.4 [SD = 2.5]) completed questionnaires on demographic characteristics, TIC-related attitude and behavior, and a demand task with a hypothetical scenario, which aimed to quantify the value of social rewards from text messaging with demand intensity (i.e., excessiveness) and elasticity (i.e., persistence). A cluster analysis identified four distinct subgroups who had varying levels of attitude (i.e., perceiving TIC as appropriate or inappropriate) and frequency of TIC: Inappropriate-Low-Frequency, Inappropriate-High-Frequency, Appropriate-Moderate-Frequency, and Appropriate-High-Frequency subgroups. The subsequent analysis revealed that demand intensity and elasticity of the Inappropriate-Low-Frequency subgroup were significantly lower and higher, respectively, than those of the Inappropriate-High-Frequency and Appropriate-High-Frequency subgroups. In addition, in supplemental analyses of multiple regression, demand intensity, but not elasticity, significantly predicted frequencies of TIC. Considering these findings, excessive valuation of social rewards from text messaging, particularly characterized by its demand intensity, appears to play an important role in the frequency of TIC. The present study contributes to the literature on media multitasking by suggesting excessive valuation as a potential factor related to TIC and providing practical implications that can help explore effective interventions tailored for distinct types of college students who have varying TIC-related attitudes and behaviors.


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Available for download on Thursday, February 15, 2024