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ERIC Number: EJ991064
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Apr
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Unmixing the Mixing Cost: Contributions from Dimensional Relevance and Stimulus-Response Suppression
Mari-Beffa, Paloma; Cooper, Stephen; Houghton, George
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v38 n2 p478-488 Apr 2012
When participants repeat the same task in a context in which the task may also switch (a mixed block), performance deteriorates compared to when there is only one task repeating (a pure block). Three experiments were designed to assess how perceptual and motor transitions influenced this mixing cost. Experiment 1 provided three pure block baselines for perceptual and motor transitions. Experiments 2 and 3 examined these transitions in a mixed block. Results show that most of the mixing cost comes from two factors: (a) episodic interference in the mixed block when the stimulus changes and the response repeats, and (b) increased suppression in mixed blocks affecting trials where stimulus-response mappings repeat. We propose that these mechanisms are strategically applied when adopting a sustained "switching set" in mixed blocks. The purpose of this set would be to avoid perseveration errors in the most demanding trials (the task-switching trials), but remaining active during task-repetitions. Results regarding the mixing cost are thus relevant to the assessment of models of task-switching, which at present mainly rely on data from task switch trials. (Contains 2 figures, 2 tables, and 4 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Wales)