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Forschungsprojekt ::
"The more, the worse? – beneficial impacts of secondary task dynamics on cognitive flexibility"


People are remarkably good at flexibly interchanging current goals. Yet, this rapid updating of actual goals usually incurs a cost in performance (i.e., task switch cost). The cause for this worse performance after exchanging current goals remains elusive. Whereas one line of research attributes the origin of this cost to executive control processes engaged in the re-configuration of performance-guiding task-sets (i.e. cognitive representation of a task), the alternative account attributes this cost more to lingering episodic bindings from prior task performance. Our study aimed at providing further data to stimulate the discussion about the mechanisms underlying this cost. To this end, we enriched a standard task switching paradigm (i.e. odd/even vs. high/low classification) with secondary tasks that differed in their dynamics (i.e. uttering words or repeating a gesture compared to holding a spittle or pressing down keys on a keyboard) as well as their effectors (using vocalization as well as manual gestures). We found beneficial effects of our dynamics secondary task in that those reduced the observed costs when participants had to switch the task. In contrast, in our control condition, in which no secondary task was performed sizable switch costs were observed. We interpret this finding in line with the memory-account of task switch cost, namely that the introduction of a secondary tasks hampers the buildup of memory traces that are beneficial in case of a task repetition but harmful in case of a goal change (i.e., task switch).

Angaben zum Forschungsprojekt

Beginn des Projekts:Januar 2016
Ende des Projekts:Januar 2018
Projektleitung:Gade, Dr. Miriam
Beteiligte Personen:Koch, Prof. Dr. Iring
Finanzierung des Projekts:Sonstiges
Schlagwörter:multitasking, cognitive control, working memory, task switching
Themengebiete:C Philosophie; Psychologie > CP Allgemeine Psychologie
Eingestellt am: 28. Jul 2017 12:20
Letzte Änderung: 20. Jul 2023 03:35
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