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07-09-2020 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2021 Open Access

Psychological Research 6/2021

Modality compatibility in task switching depends on processing codes and task demands

Tijdschrift:
Psychological Research > Uitgave 6/2021
Auteurs:
Erik Friedgen, Iring Koch, Denise Nadine Stephan
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Abstract

Modality compatibility denotes the match between sensory stimulus modality and the sensory modality of the anticipated response effect (for example, vocal responses usually lead to auditory effects, so that auditory–vocal stimulus–response mappings are modality-compatible, whereas visual–vocal mappings are modality incompatible). In task switching studies, it has been found that switching between two modality-incompatible mappings (auditory-manual and visual–vocal) resulted in higher switch costs than switching between two modality-compatible mappings (auditory–vocal and visual-manual). This finding suggests that with modality-incompatible mappings, the anticipation of the effect of each response primes the stimulus modality linked to the competing task, creating task confusion. In Experiment 1, we examined whether modality-compatibility effects in task switching are increased by strengthening the auditory–vocal coupling using spatial-verbal stimuli relative to spatial-location stimuli. In Experiment 2, we aimed at achieving the same goal by requiring temporal stimulus discrimination relative to spatial stimulus localisation. Results suggest that both spatial-verbal stimuli and temporal discrimination can increase modality-specific task interference through a variation of the strength of anticipation in the response-effect coupling. This provides further support for modality specificity of cognitive control processes in task switching.

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