ERIC Number: EJ737542
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Asymmetrical Switch Costs in Children
Ellefson, Michelle R.; Shapiron, Laura R.; Chater, Nick
Cognitive Development, v21 n2 p108-130 Apr-Jun 2006
Switching between tasks produces decreases in performance as compared to repeating the same task. Asymmetrical switch costs occur when switching between two tasks of unequal difficulty. This asymmetry occurs because the cost is greater when switching to the less difficult task than when switching to the more difficult task. Various theories about the origins of these asymmetrical switch costs have emerged from numerous and detailed experiments with adults. There is no documented evidence of asymmetrical switch costs in children. We conducted a series of studies that examined age-related changes in asymmetrical switch costs, within the same paradigm. Similarities in the patterns of asymmetrical switch costs between children and adults suggested that theoretical explanations of the cognitive mechanisms driving asymmetrical switch costs in adults could be applied to children. Age-related differences indicate that these theoretical explanations need to incorporate the relative contributions and interactions of developmental processes and task mastery.
Descriptors: Children, Difficulty Level, Adults, Age Differences, Experiments, Models, Cognitive Processes, Theories, Cognitive Development, Developmental Stages
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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