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Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research 1/2018

17-11-2017 | Original Article

Action control in task switching: do action effects modulate N − 2 repetition costs in task switching?

Auteurs: Stefanie Schuch, Angelika Sommer, Sarah Lukas

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 1/2018

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Abstract

Ideomotor theory posits that actions are controlled by the anticipation of their effects. In line with this theoretical framework, response-contingent action effects have been shown to influence performance in choice-reaction time tasks, both in single-task and task-switching context. Using a task-switching paradigm, the present study investigated whether task-contingent action effects influenced N − 2 repetition costs in task switching. N − 2 repetition costs are thought to be related to task-switch costs, and reflect inhibitory control in task switching. It was expected that task-contingent action effects reduce between-task interference, leading to reduced N − 2 repetition costs. An experimental group (N = 24) performed eight blocks of trials with task-contingent action effects, followed by one block with non-contingent action effects; a control group (N = 24) performed nine blocks of trials with non-contingent action effects. In line with our expectations, a three-way interaction of group, block, and task sequence was obtained, indicating differential data patterns for the two groups: In error rates, the group who had received contingent action effects throughout blocks 1–8 showed larger N − 2 repetition costs in the random block 9 than in block 8, whereas the control group showed a reversed data pattern. The RT data pattern was in the same direction, although no significant three-way interaction was obtained. Taken together, we tentatively conclude that task-contingent action effects reduce task inhibition in task switching, and we outline directions for future research on the role of action effects in multitasking performance.
Voetnoten
1
We also conducted another experiment where the action effects were less salient. We applied a paradigm with face-categorization tasks, and the action effects were small changes in the face (e.g., eyes closing, person smiling, person looking to the left, etc.). We did not find any influence of action-effect contingency with that paradigm. Possibly the quite subtle changes of the visual stimuli led participants to ignore the action effects. We conjecture that action effects need to be salient in order be integrated into participants’ action plans. Details about this additional experiment are available on request.
 
2
The data pattern was similar when digit repetitions were included in the analysis.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Action control in task switching: do action effects modulate N − 2 repetition costs in task switching?
Auteurs
Stefanie Schuch
Angelika Sommer
Sarah Lukas
Publicatiedatum
17-11-2017
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 1/2018
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-017-0946-7