The impact of perceptual predictability on multi-task performance

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Research suggests a beneficial impact of predictability on dual-task cost reduction, e.g. through perceptual cues or anticipation. In this study we investigated whether the display of advance visual information in a tracking task, and the provision of fixed tone-sequences in an auditory reaction time task (RTT), help to decrease dual-task costs. We hypothesized that visual information support feedforward control, promoting movement planning and a shift of attention to the auditory RTT. Similarly we hypothesized that auditory information support sequence learning, thereby lowering reaction times and enabling a shift of attention to the tracking task.
Participants performed a manual pursuit-tracking task following a target square on a sinusoidal path while concurrently responding to high-pitched tones by pedal press (ignoring low-pitched tones). In the first experiment parts of sinusoidal tracking path were visualized (0 - 800 ms ahead of target square). In the second experiment high- and low-pitched tones in the RTT were sequenced to a 3:1 sequence. In the third experiment tones were again sequenced, but participants were no longer asked to ignore low-pitched sounds, but to use both feet to respond to tones.
Results of the first experiment show that advance visual information improve performance in the tracking task but not performance in the RTT. Similarly results of the second experiment demonstrate a beneficial impact of sequences on RT, and a significant Condition x Sound Order Interaction, but no benefits for tracking. Under additional cognitive and motor load (Exp.3) participants still benefit from sequences, but the Interaction was no longer significant.
We suggest that perceptual information only benefit the modality it targets, either because they are insufficient to free enough resources to cope with dual-task requirements or because they fool participants into believing the perceptual information emphasizes the importance of the task and the choice of neglecting the other task.
TitelAbstracts of the 20th Conference of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology
Herausgeber/inUniversität Potsdam
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 04.09.2017
VeranstaltungConference of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP) - Potsdam, Deutschland
Dauer: 03.09.201706.09.2017
Konferenznummer: 20

ID: 3093238

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