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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

The temporal dynamics of switching tasks

The starting point for this research is a focus on some fundamental features of human behaviour, namely its extreme flexibility coupled with goal directedness. It is for cognitive control to ensure that the appropriate action is performed in a given context, and this issue of control of task set can be investigated in the laboratory using task-switching paradigms. A striking phenomenon in such paradigms is the substantial cost to performance (longer RTs, more errors) of a change of task, the switch cost, which can be reduced by the opportunity to prepare but is normally not entirely eliminated by preparation.

This research investigates phenomena related to this residual cost, and also looks at the reduction in switch cost obtained with different degrees of preparation. The aim is to develop a real-time computational model, which is able to account for phenomena related to the residual cost, including my own dataset. In this way it is hoped to isolate particular components of the residual switch cost and generate further experimental means of enquiry into this phenomenon. This model should also help to explain the most typical ERP modulations found in task-switching studies (the preparation related switch positivity and the post-stimulus switch negativity).

  • Outputs (5)