Osgood, S. S., Boff, K. R., & Donovan, R. S. (1988). Rapid communication display technology efficiency in a multi-task environment. Proceedings of the Human Factors Society 32nd Annual Meeting.
Abstract: Information communication rate for a conventional display with 3 spatially separated windows was compared with rate for a serial display in which data frames were presented sequentially in 1 window. Each frame contained a randomly selected digit with various amounts of additional display "clutter." In Exp I, 3 adults recalled the digits in a prescribed order. Large rate differences were found, with faster serial communication for all levels of the clutter factors; however, the rate difference was most pronounced for highly cluttered displays. An explanation for the latter effect in terms of visual masking in the retinal periphery was supported by the results of a 2nd experiment. The hypothesis that serial displays can speed information transfer for automatic but not for controlled processing is discussed.
This book is referenced from McFarlane and Latorella (2002) in the following paragraph:
The way the interruption is presented can affect its level of perceived disruptiveness.
Spatial location can also be an important design choice for the
UIs of interruption tasks. Osgood et al. (1988) compared interfaces that interrupted
users with a set of numbers during a tracking task. People performed
better when the interruption was expressed as a rapid display of numbers in
the same location than when the interruption information was displayed at
the same time but spatially distributed on the screen.