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17-10-2017 | Original Article

How conceptual overlap and modality pairings affect task-switching and mixing costs

Auteurs: Jonathan Schacherer, Eliot Hazeltine

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 5/2019

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Abstract

Manipulating the pairings of stimulus and response modalities has been shown to affect how response selection processes for distinct tasks interact. For example, Stephan and Koch (Psychol Res 75(6):491–498, 2011) found smaller performance costs when participants switched between visual–manual (VM) and auditory–vocal (AV) tasks (modality compatible; MC) compared to between visual–vocal (VV) and auditory–manual (AM) tasks (modality incompatible; MI). However, in the Stephan and Koch study, there was conceptual overlap between one set of stimuli and one set of responses. For the MC pair, these stimuli and responses belonged to the same task, whereas for the MI pair, they belonged to different tasks. To examine how conceptual overlap affected switch and mixing costs, we conducted two experiments. Experiment 1a was a near replication of Stephan and Koch in which conceptual overlap was present in the MC AV task. In contrast, Experiment 1b reduced conceptual overlap within the MC AV task and increased it in the MI VV task. In Experiment 1a, we replicated Stephan and Koch’s findings: larger switch costs were observed for the MI pair; in Experiment 1b, we found numerically greater switch costs in the MC condition. In Experiment 2, we reduced conceptual overlap in both tasks and found no effect of modality compatibility on switch costs. However, mixing costs were primarily driven by modality compatibility, regardless of conceptual overlap. These results highlight the different roles that conceptual overlap and modality pairings have on switch and mixing costs.
Voetnoten
1
We defined ‘equipment failure’ as vocal response accuracy less than 0.70. This was caused by our speech recognition program inaccurately identifying vocal responses. Of the subjects we discarded, average accuracy on vocal trials was: Exp. 1a: 0.48; Exp. 1b: 0.55; Exp. 2: 0.56. We set a criterion of 0.70 and subjects whose data did not meet that criterion were not analyzed further.
 
2
Mean RT in Experiment 1 did not significantly differ between the two possible S–R mappings containing conceptual overlap, (e.g., M → “A”, X → “one” vs. M → “one”, X → “A”), Exp. 1a: t(14) = 0.947, p = 0.360; Exp. 1b: t(14) = 1.795, p = 0.094]. The absence of a significant effect is consistent with our proposal that the conceptual overlap does not rely on dimensional overlap leading to individual stimuli differentially activating specific responses, as when there is element level compatibility (e.g., Fitts & Seeger, 1953; Kornblum et al., 1990).
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
How conceptual overlap and modality pairings affect task-switching and mixing costs
Auteurs
Jonathan Schacherer
Eliot Hazeltine
Publicatiedatum
17-10-2017
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 5/2019
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-017-0932-0

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