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ERIC Number: EJ1178397
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Apr
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
Dividing Attention between Tasks: Testing Whether Explicit Payoff Functions Elicit Optimal Dual-Task Performance
Farmer, George D.; Janssen, Christian P.; Nguyen, Anh T.; Brumby, Duncan P.
Cognitive Science, v42 n3 p820-849 Apr 2018
We test people's ability to optimize performance across two concurrent tasks. Participants performed a number entry task while controlling a randomly moving cursor with a joystick. Participants received explicit feedback on their performance on these tasks in the form of a single combined score. This payoff function was varied between conditions to change the value of one task relative to the other. We found that participants adapted their strategy for interleaving the two tasks, by varying how long they spent on one task before switching to the other, in order to achieve the near maximum payoff available in each condition. In a second experiment, we show that this behavior is learned quickly (within 2-3 min over several discrete trials) and remained stable for as long as the payoff function did not change. The results of this work show that people are adaptive and flexible in how they prioritize and allocate attention in a dual-task setting. However, it also demonstrates some of the limits regarding people's ability to optimize payoff functions.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A