Interruptions and qualityForoughi et al. (2014) examined what the influence of interruptions on the quality of work is. They had 54 students write an essay. There were three conditions in their experiment. Participant in condition 1 were interrupted while making an outline of the essay. Participants in condition 2 were interrupted while writing the essay. Participants in condition 3 were not interrupted. The experiment was conducted twice. In the first experiment all participants got 12 minutes to make an outline and 12 minutes to write the essay. The second time participants got 20 minutes for both activities.
Both times the quality of the essays in condition 1 and 2 was significantly worse than in condition 3 although all participants had had equal time. People who had been interrupted while writing also wrote fewer words. This was not the case for people who had been interrupted while making an outline.