Limitations in advance task preparation: Switching the relevant stimulus dimension in speeded same-different comparisons

Nachshon Meiran, Hadas Marciano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

When participants switch between relevant stimulus dimensions in speeded classification tasks, task-switching cost is reduced by advance preparation. Previous studies in which speeded classification tasks were used have suggested that this effect results from attending to the relevant stimulus dimension. Because selective attention to the relevant stimulus dimension in same-different judgments is relatively poor (e.g., Santee & Egeth, 1980), it was predicted that advance task preparation for a shift in the relevant stimulus dimension would be compromised. This prediction was borne out in two experiments comparing dimension shifts (shape vs. fill) with task rule shifts (same? vs. different?) and shifts in the mapping of right-left keys to yes and no responses (yes-no vs. no-yes). The results indicate that advance attentional selection of the relevant dimension is an optional preparatory strategy in task switching, employed only in conditions enabling flexible refocusing of attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-550
Number of pages11
JournalMemory and Cognition
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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