- Operation compatibility: a neglected contribution to dual-task costs
- Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance
- Volume | Issue number
- 35 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Traditionally, dual-task interference has been attributed to the consequences of task load exceeding capacity limitations. However, the current study demonstrates that in addition to task load, the mutual compatibility of the concurrent processes modulates whether 2 tasks can be performed in parallel. In 2 psychological refractory period experiments, task load and process compatibility were independently varied. In Experiment 1, participants performed 2 mental rotation tasks. Task load (rotation angle) and between-task compatibility in rotation direction were varied. Results suggest more considerable parallel execution of compatible than of incompatible operations, arguing for the need to attribute dual-task interference not only to structural but also to functional capacity limitations. Experiment 2 tested whether functional capacity limitations to dual-task performance can be caused only by demanding processes or whether they are also induced by relatively automatic processes. Results indicate that an irrelevant circular movement of Stimulus 2 interfered more with mental rotation of Stimulus 1 if the rotation directions were opposite than if they were equal. In conclusion, compatibility of concurrent processes constitutes an indispensable element in explaining dual-task performance.
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