Self-paced preparation for a task-switch eliminates attentional inertia but not the performance switch cost

Cai Longman, A. Lavric, S. Monsell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The performance overhead associated with changing tasks (the “switch cost”) usually diminishes when the task is specified in advance but is rarely eliminated by preparation. A popular account of the “residual” (asymptotic) switch cost is that it reflects “task-set inertia”: carry-over of task-set parameters from the preceding trial(s). New evidence for a component of “task-set inertia” comes from eye-tracking, where the location associated with the previously (but no longer) relevant task is fixated preferentially over other irrelevant locations, even when preparation intervals are generous. Might such limits in overcoming task-set inertia in general, and “attentional inertia” in particular, result from suboptimal scheduling of preparation when the time available is outside one’s control? In the present study, the stimulus comprised 3 digits located at the points of an invisible triangle, preceded by a central verbal cue specifying which of 3 classification tasks to perform, each consistently applied to just 1 digit location. The digits were presented only when fixation moved away from the cue, thus giving the participant control over preparation time. In contrast to our previous research with experimenter-determined preparation intervals, we found no sign of attentional inertia for the long preparation intervals. Self-paced preparation reduced but did not eliminate the performance switch cost—leaving a clear residual component in both reaction time and error rates. That the scheduling of preparation accounts for some, but not all, components of the residual switch cost, challenges existing accounts of the switch cost, even those which distinguish between preparatory and poststimulus reconfiguration processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862-873
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Volume43
Issue number6
Early online date12 Dec 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Costs and Cost Analysis
costs
scheduling
performance
Cues
Reaction Time
stimulus
Inertia
Costs
Research
evidence
time

Cite this

@article{7da5213ac99941b4bb1ffd57c2b5cbcf,
title = "Self-paced preparation for a task-switch eliminates attentional inertia but not the performance switch cost",
abstract = "The performance overhead associated with changing tasks (the “switch cost”) usually diminishes when the task is specified in advance but is rarely eliminated by preparation. A popular account of the “residual” (asymptotic) switch cost is that it reflects “task-set inertia”: carry-over of task-set parameters from the preceding trial(s). New evidence for a component of “task-set inertia” comes from eye-tracking, where the location associated with the previously (but no longer) relevant task is fixated preferentially over other irrelevant locations, even when preparation intervals are generous. Might such limits in overcoming task-set inertia in general, and “attentional inertia” in particular, result from suboptimal scheduling of preparation when the time available is outside one’s control? In the present study, the stimulus comprised 3 digits located at the points of an invisible triangle, preceded by a central verbal cue specifying which of 3 classification tasks to perform, each consistently applied to just 1 digit location. The digits were presented only when fixation moved away from the cue, thus giving the participant control over preparation time. In contrast to our previous research with experimenter-determined preparation intervals, we found no sign of attentional inertia for the long preparation intervals. Self-paced preparation reduced but did not eliminate the performance switch cost—leaving a clear residual component in both reaction time and error rates. That the scheduling of preparation accounts for some, but not all, components of the residual switch cost, challenges existing accounts of the switch cost, even those which distinguish between preparatory and poststimulus reconfiguration processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)",
author = "Cai Longman and A. Lavric and S. Monsell",
year = "2017",
month = "6",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1037/xlm0000347",
language = "English",
volume = "43",
pages = "862--873",
journal = "Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition",
issn = "0278-7393",
publisher = "American Psychological Association",
number = "6",

}

Self-paced preparation for a task-switch eliminates attentional inertia but not the performance switch cost. / Longman, Cai; Lavric, A.; Monsell, S. .

In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Vol. 43, No. 6, 01.06.2017, p. 862-873.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Self-paced preparation for a task-switch eliminates attentional inertia but not the performance switch cost

AU - Longman, Cai

AU - Lavric, A.

AU - Monsell, S.

PY - 2017/6/1

Y1 - 2017/6/1

N2 - The performance overhead associated with changing tasks (the “switch cost”) usually diminishes when the task is specified in advance but is rarely eliminated by preparation. A popular account of the “residual” (asymptotic) switch cost is that it reflects “task-set inertia”: carry-over of task-set parameters from the preceding trial(s). New evidence for a component of “task-set inertia” comes from eye-tracking, where the location associated with the previously (but no longer) relevant task is fixated preferentially over other irrelevant locations, even when preparation intervals are generous. Might such limits in overcoming task-set inertia in general, and “attentional inertia” in particular, result from suboptimal scheduling of preparation when the time available is outside one’s control? In the present study, the stimulus comprised 3 digits located at the points of an invisible triangle, preceded by a central verbal cue specifying which of 3 classification tasks to perform, each consistently applied to just 1 digit location. The digits were presented only when fixation moved away from the cue, thus giving the participant control over preparation time. In contrast to our previous research with experimenter-determined preparation intervals, we found no sign of attentional inertia for the long preparation intervals. Self-paced preparation reduced but did not eliminate the performance switch cost—leaving a clear residual component in both reaction time and error rates. That the scheduling of preparation accounts for some, but not all, components of the residual switch cost, challenges existing accounts of the switch cost, even those which distinguish between preparatory and poststimulus reconfiguration processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

AB - The performance overhead associated with changing tasks (the “switch cost”) usually diminishes when the task is specified in advance but is rarely eliminated by preparation. A popular account of the “residual” (asymptotic) switch cost is that it reflects “task-set inertia”: carry-over of task-set parameters from the preceding trial(s). New evidence for a component of “task-set inertia” comes from eye-tracking, where the location associated with the previously (but no longer) relevant task is fixated preferentially over other irrelevant locations, even when preparation intervals are generous. Might such limits in overcoming task-set inertia in general, and “attentional inertia” in particular, result from suboptimal scheduling of preparation when the time available is outside one’s control? In the present study, the stimulus comprised 3 digits located at the points of an invisible triangle, preceded by a central verbal cue specifying which of 3 classification tasks to perform, each consistently applied to just 1 digit location. The digits were presented only when fixation moved away from the cue, thus giving the participant control over preparation time. In contrast to our previous research with experimenter-determined preparation intervals, we found no sign of attentional inertia for the long preparation intervals. Self-paced preparation reduced but did not eliminate the performance switch cost—leaving a clear residual component in both reaction time and error rates. That the scheduling of preparation accounts for some, but not all, components of the residual switch cost, challenges existing accounts of the switch cost, even those which distinguish between preparatory and poststimulus reconfiguration processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

U2 - 10.1037/xlm0000347

DO - 10.1037/xlm0000347

M3 - Article

VL - 43

SP - 862

EP - 873

JO - Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition

JF - Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition

SN - 0278-7393

IS - 6

ER -