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Direct real-time neural evidence for task-set inertia

Evans, Lisa Helen, Herron, Jane and Wilding, Edward Lewis 2015. Direct real-time neural evidence for task-set inertia. Psychological Science 26 (3) , pp. 284-290. 10.1177/0956797614561799

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One influential explanation for the costs incurred when switching between tasks is that they reflect interference arising from completing the previous task—known as task-set inertia. We report a novel approach for assessing task-set inertia in a memory experiment using event-related potentials (ERPs). After a study phase, participants completed a test block in which they switched between a memory task (retrieving information from the study phase) and a perceptual task. These tasks alternated every two trials. An ERP index of the retrieval of study information was evident in the memory task. It was also present on the first trial of the perceptual task but was markedly attenuated on the second. Moreover, this task-irrelevant ERP activity was positively correlated with a behavioral cost associated with switching between tasks. This real-time measure of neural activity thus provides direct evidence of task-set inertia, its duration, and the functional role it plays in switch costs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0956-7976
Funders: BBSRC & BIAL Foundation
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 7 November 2014
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2019 15:57

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