The role of task-related learned representations in explaining asymmetries in task switching

Barutchu, Ayla, Becker, Stefanie I., Carter, Olivia, Hester, Robert and Levy, Neil L. (2013) The role of task-related learned representations in explaining asymmetries in task switching. PLoS One, 8 4: e61729.1-e61729.10. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061729

Author Barutchu, Ayla
Becker, Stefanie I.
Carter, Olivia
Hester, Robert
Levy, Neil L.
Title The role of task-related learned representations in explaining asymmetries in task switching
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2013-04
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0061729
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 4
Start page e61729.1
End page e61729.10
Total pages 10
Place of publication San Francisco, CA United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Task switch costs often show an asymmetry, with switch costs being larger when switching from a difficult task to an easier task. This asymmetry has been explained by difficult tasks being represented more strongly and consequently requiring more inhibition prior to switching to the easier task. The present study shows that switch cost asymmetries observed in arithmetic tasks (addition vs. subtraction) do not depend on task difficulty: Switch costs of similar magnitudes were obtained when participants were presented with unsolvable pseudo-equations that did not differ in task difficulty. Further experiments showed that neither task switch costs nor switch cost asymmetries were due to perceptual factors (e.g., perceptual priming effects). These findings suggest that asymmetrical switch costs can be brought about by the association of some tasks with greater difficulty than others. Moreover, the finding that asymmetrical switch costs were observed (1) in the absence of a task switch proper and (2) without differences in task difficulty, suggests that present theories of task switch costs and switch cost asymmetries are in important ways incomplete and need to be modified.
Keyword Working memory
Visual search
Pop Out
Feature Targets
Set Reconfiguration
Cognitive Control
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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