On the origins of the task mixing cost in the cuing task-switching paradigm

Orit Rubin, Nachshon Meiran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

268 Scopus citations


Poorer performance in conditions involving task repetition within blocks of mixed tasks relative to task repetition within blocks of single task is called mixing cost (MC). In 2 experiments exploring 2 hypotheses regarding the origins of MC, participants either switched between cued shape and color tasks, or they performed them as single tasks. Experiment 1 supported the hypothesis that mixed-tasks trials require the resolution of task ambiguity by showing that MC existed only with ambiguous stimuli that afforded both tasks and not with unambiguous stimuli affording only 1 task. Experiment 2 failed to support the hypothesis that holding multiple task sets in working memory (WM) generates MC by showing that systematic manipulation of the number of stimulus-response rules in WM did not affect MC. The results emphasize the role of competition management between task sets during task control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1477-1491
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2005


  • Mixing cost
  • Switching cost
  • Task ambiguity
  • Task switching
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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