You can't always get what you want: The influence of unexpected task constraint on voluntary task switching

Starla M. Weaver, John J. Foxe, Marina Shpaner, Glenn R. Wylie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current study assessed the effect that unexpected task constraint, following self-generated task choice, has on task switching performance. Participants performed a modified double-registration voluntary task switching procedure in which participants specified the task they wanted to perform, were presented with a cue that, on the majority of trials, confirmed the choice, and then performed the cued task. On a small portion of trials, participants were cued to perform a task that did not match their choice. Trials on which cues unexpectedly failed to match the chosen task were associated with costs. These costs were particularly large when participants chose to switch tasks but had to unexpectedly repeat the previous task. The results suggest that when participants choose to switch tasks, they prepare for that switch in anticipation of the stimulus, and the preparation is durable such that it cannot be readily undone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2247-2259
Number of pages13
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Volume67
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 26 2014

Keywords

  • Task preparation
  • Task switching
  • Voluntary task switching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Physiology (medical)

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