Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

pp 2384-2385

Multiple Resource Theory


Mental resources; Resource limitations


The Multiple Resource Theory asserts that people have a limited set of resources available for mental processes. These resources can be thought of as a pool of energy that is used for a variety of mental operations, from sensory-level processing to meaning-level processing. This shared pool of resources are allocated across different tasks, modalities, and processing. This theory explains how difficult single-tasks can run into processing difficulties and how dual-task performance is more likely to be hampered by performing similar tasks than dissimilar tasks. Multiple resource theory has been applied in psychology to areas such as dual-task performance as well as applied areas such as communication to understand how people make sense of television messages and in consumer research to understand how people process information about a product.

Theoretical Background

One of the most fundamental ...

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