Stimulus-related priming during task switching

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

Task switch cost (the deficit of performing a new task vs. a repeated task) has been partly attributed to priming of the repeated task, as well as to inappropriate preparation for the switched task. In the present study, we examined the nature of the priming effect by repeating stimulus-related processes, such as stimulus encoding or stimulus identification. We adopted a partial-overlap task-switching paradigm, in which only stimulus-related processes should be repeated or switched. The switch cost in this partial-overlap condition was smaller than the cost in the full-overlap condition, in which the task overlap involved more than stimulus processing, indicating that priming of a stimulus is a component of a switch cost. The switch cost in the partial-overlap condition, however, disappeared eventually with a long interval between two tasks, whereas the cost in the full-overlap condition remained significant. Moreover, the switch cost, in general, did not interact with foreknowledge, suggesting that preparation on the basis of foreknowledge may be related to processes beyond stimulus encoding. These results suggest that stimulus-related priming is automatic and short-lived and, therefore, is not a part of the persisting portion of switch cost.




Published In

Memory & Cognition, 31, 5, 775-780.