The Role of Outcome Conflict in Dual-Task Interference.
CALIFORNIA UNIV SAN DIEGO LA JOLLA INST FOR COGNITIVE SCIENCE
Pagination or Media Count:
The traditional explanation for dual-task interference is that tasks compete for scarce processing resources. Another possible explanation is that the outcome of the processing required for one task conflicts with the processing required for the other task e.g., cross-talk. To explore the contribution of outcome conflict to task interference, we manipulated the relatedness of the tasks. In experiment 1, subjects searched concurrently for names of boys in one channel and names of cities in another channel. Responses were significantly delayed when a nontarget on one channel belonged to, or was even just related to, the category designated as the target for the other channel. No comparable effects were found when the tasks were performed in isolation. Thus, the difficulty of the individual tasks is not the only determinant of how much they will interfere when combined, and there must be substantial interactions between processes carrying out the two tasks. In Experiment 2 subjects searched one channel for specific target letters and another channel for specific target digits. The nontargets in a channel with either from the same alphanumeric category as the targets for that channel, or from the opposite category i.e., the category of the targets for the other channel.
- Information Science