Task Switching

Topics: Experiment, The Trial, Stanford prison experiment Pages: 3 (823 words) Published: November 19, 2012

Running Head: Time Cost, Task-Switching, Repeating Tasks

Task Switching Cost’s Time

Brooklyn College City University of New York


A replication of Task Switching Monsell 2003 experiment was done, which predicts a time cost when switching tasks. 18 participants had to complete 100 randomized trials, switching between task-repeat and task-switching trials. Reaction Times (RT) were recorded and reflected by experimenters, to determine that there is a time cost involved when switching tasks as opposed to repeating the same task.

Task-Switching Costs Time

Many people take pride in the fact that they can multitask. A study “Task Switching” conducted by Monsell concluded that multitasking, or switching between tasks actually costs us time. Our brain is complicated machinery, which requires a specific program for a specific task to be loaded in to our computer, the brain, to complete a task. Switching between tasks takes more time than repeating the same task. Monsell demonstrated that when presented with one task, our brain responds faster in completing the task, rather than switching between tasks. In a task-switching experiment subjects are first pretrained on two or more simple tasks afforded by a set of stimuli. Each task requires attention to, and classification of, a different element or attribute of the stimulus or retrieval from memory or computation of a different property of the stimulus. (eg., Monsell 2003) In the study the subjects were presented with a series of trials (eg., Monsell 2003) and completed the task at hand on a random trial basis. The participants had to repeat the same task or switch between tasks to complete each trial. By conducting these trials the researchers tried to examine performance or brain activation on and following trials when the task changes for evidence of extra processing demands that are associated with the need to reconfigure task-set (eg., Monsell 2003)...

References: Monsell, S (2003). Task switching. Trends in Cognitive Science, 7,134-140.
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