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12-04-2019 | Original Article

Embodied cognition in multitasking: increased hand-specific task shielding when stimuli are presented near the hand

Auteurs: Rico Fischer, Roman Liepelt

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 6/2020

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Abstract

The proximity of hand position alters the processing of visual stimuli. Stimuli presented close (proximal) to hands receive an enhanced allocation of visual attention compared to stimuli presented far (distal) from hands. In the present dual-task study we studied the consequences of this preferential processing when the stimulus for Task 1 (S1) and the stimulus for Task 2 (S2) were presented together and were assigned to specific response hands (R1 and R2) located proximal (at the monitor) versus distal (in the lap) to the stimuli. In two experiments, we tested whether stimulus–hand proximity affected the extent of between-task interference (i.e., influence of additional Task 2 processing on primary Task 1 processing). In Experiment 1, results showed that stimulus–hand proximity reduced the amount of between-task interference compared to the distal stimulus–hand condition. Extending these findings, in Experiment 2 a further reduction of between-task interference was obtained when a single hand was located at the monitor instead of two hands. These results are inconsistent with the assumption of a generally increased attentional processing benefit for multiple stimuli within hand space. Instead, these findings speak for a hand-specific processing benefit that supports more separate processing of two tasks. Together these findings demonstrate that stimulus–hand proximity affects the quality of multiple task performance, which is discussed in the context of both, basic and applied cognitive research.
Voetnoten
1
Interference between tasks works also the other way around, i.e., S1 processing affects subsequent S2 categorization. Due to T1 prioritization, however, this forward crosstalk is of lesser theoretical importance. Yet, performance of T2 is often reported to exclude performance trade-offs between T1 and T2.
 
2
In addition to the amount of overlap within individual stimulus–response pairs, the importance of task separability on the magnitude of dual-task- and switch costs, for example, has also been highlighted in the context of input–output modality pairings in dual tasking (Halvorson, Ebner, & Hazeltine, 2013; Halvorson & Hazeltine, 2015; Maquestiaux, Ruthruff, Defer, & Ibrahime, 2018; Stelzel & Schubert, 2011) and task switching (Stephan & Koch, 2010, 2011), respectively. Here, it remains an interesting empirical question to which extent stimulus–hand proximity might also affect general task separation beyond facilitated task-specific stimulus–response binding (e.g., by discouraging feature binding across tasks).
 
3
An additional contributing factor to stronger task separation in the asynchronous PD and DP stimulus–hand conditions might be the larger spatial distance between both response hands compared to synchronous PP and DD stimulus–hand condition (Chen & Proctor, 2014; Lakens, Schneider, Jostmann, & Schubert, 2011). Spatial R1–R2 distance, however, cannot explain the entire result pattern, as in Experiment 1, R1–R2 distance was constant in both stimulus–hand conditions.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Embodied cognition in multitasking: increased hand-specific task shielding when stimuli are presented near the hand
Auteurs
Rico Fischer
Roman Liepelt
Publicatiedatum
12-04-2019
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 6/2020
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-019-01174-6

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