ERIC Number: EJ1060155
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
The Effect of N-3 on N-2 Repetition Costs in Task Switching
Schuch, Stefanie; Grange, James A.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v41 n3 p760-767 May 2015
N-2 task repetition cost is a response time and error cost returning to a task recently performed after one intervening trial (i.e., an ABA task sequence) compared with returning to a task not recently performed (i.e., a CBA task sequence). This cost is considered a robust measure of inhibitory control during task switching. The present article reports a novel sequential effect of n-2 task repetitions when trial n-3 is taken into consideration. In particular, performance is better in trials "preceded" by an n-2 repetition than in trials "preceded" by an n-2 switch. That is, performance is better in BABA sequences (where trial n-1 was an n-2 repetition) than in CABA sequences (where trial n-1 was an n-2 switch). Likewise, performance is better in BCBA (where trial n-1 was an n-2 repetition) than in ACBA or DCBA sequences (where trial n-1 was an n-2 switch). Evidence for this new n-3 effect is provided by a mini meta-analysis of a set of published data, as well as 2 new experiments applying a different paradigm. We suggest that this new effect reflects trial-by-trial modulation of cognitive control: Task conflict is higher in n-2 repetitions than in n-2 switches; therefore, cognitive control is increased in trials following n-2 repetitions, leading to improved performance. This facilitating effect of previous task conflict is discussed with respect to current theories on cognitive control.
Descriptors: Cognitive Processes, Task Analysis, Repetition, Attention Control, Inhibition, Reaction Time, Cues, Human Body, Experiments, Statistical Analysis, Meta Analysis, Factor Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A