The effects of task complexity and practice on dual-task interference in visuospatial working memory

Murray, Stephen J., McFarland, Ken A. and Geffen, Gina M. (2005) The effects of task complexity and practice on dual-task interference in visuospatial working memory. Brain Impairment, 6 1: 13-20.

Author Murray, Stephen J.
McFarland, Ken A.
Geffen, Gina M.
Title The effects of task complexity and practice on dual-task interference in visuospatial working memory
Journal name Brain Impairment   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1443-9646
Publication date 2005-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 6
Issue 1
Start page 13
End page 20
Total pages 8
Editor Dr Jacinta Douglas
Robyn Tate
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Collection year 2005
Language eng
Subject C1
380103 Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)
730104 Nervous system and disorders
Abstract Although the n-back task has been widely applied to neuroimagery investigations of working memory (WM), the role of practice effects on behavioural performance of this task has not yet been investigated. The current study aimed to investigate the effects of task complexity and familiarity on the n-back task. Seventy-seven participants (39 male, 38 female) completed a visuospatial n-back task four times, twice in two testing sessions separated by a week. Participants were required to remember either the first, second or third (n-back) most recent letter positions in a continuous sequence and to indicate whether the current item matched or did not match the remembered position. A control task, with no working memory requirements required participants to match to a predetermined stimulus position. In both testing sessions, reaction time (RT) and error rate increased with increasing WM load. An exponential slope for RTs in the first session indicated dual-task interference at the 3-back level. However, a linear slope in the second session indicated a reduction of dual-task interference. Attenuation of interference in the second session suggested a reduction in executive demands of the task with practice. This suggested that practice effects occur within the n-back ask and need to be controlled for in future neuroimagery research using the task.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 17:29:39 EST