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25-04-2020 | Original Article Open Access

Parallel and serial task processing in the PRP paradigm: a drift–diffusion model approach

Psychological Research
André Mattes, Felice Tavera, Anja Ophey, Mandy Roheger, Robert Gaschler, Hilde Haider
Belangrijke opmerkingen
André Mattes and Felice Tavera shared first authorship.

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Even after a long time of research on dual-tasking, the question whether the two tasks are always processed serially (response selection bottleneck models, RSB) or also in parallel (capacity-sharing models) is still going on. The first models postulate that the central processing stages of two tasks cannot overlap, producing a central processing bottleneck in Task 2. The second class of models posits that cognitive resources are shared between the central processing stages of two tasks, allowing for parallel processing. In a series of three experiments, we aimed at inducing parallel vs. serial processing by manipulating the relative frequency of short vs. long SOAs (Experiments 1 and 2) and including no-go trials in Task 2 (Experiment 3). Beyond the conventional response time (RT) analyses, we employed drift–diffusion model analyses to differentiate between parallel and serial processing. Even though our findings were rather consistent across the three experiments, they neither support unambiguously the assumptions derived from the RSB model nor those derived from capacity-sharing models. SOA frequency might lead to an adaptation to frequent time patterns. Overall, our diffusion model results and mean RTs seem to be better explained by participant’s time expectancies.

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