iTask: Linguistic and Embodied Features of Interactional Multitasking


Project description

Strategic research project of the University of Oulu
Focus institute: Eudaimonia
Faculty: Humanities

iTask is a multidisciplinary project that studies interactional multitasking. iTask uses video-based methods and conversation analysis to study how people talk and interact in real-time to make multitasking possible and how talk and interaction adapt to the demands to progress more than one activity at a time. It studies multitasking in families, research laboratories, military coordination centres, caf├ęs and cars. The languages studied are English, Finnish, French and Estonian. First, iTask identifies how the interactional practices are designed to carry out interactional multitasking. Second, it studies what linguistic formats are used to achieve interactional multitasking. Third, it identifies and analyses embodied and multimodal conduct that social participants use for interactional multitasking. Fourth, it can take a stand on the discussion concerning (in)efficiency of multitasking, not by arguing whether it is efficient or not, but by offering detailed descriptions of multitasking practices as they are produced in and through interaction and by showing how and when they are (un)successful. In sum, the project provides detailed analyses of how talk, language and bodily behaviour feature in interactional multitasking. It provides new findings of how people multitask in real-life situations in and through interaction. Therefore, it can have a broader interest and societal impact.

Project coordinator

University of Oulu

Research groups

  • COACT (Complexity of (inter)action and multimodal participation)


Pentti Haddington

Pentti Haddington