Recent studies suggest that timing and tasks involving executive control processes might require the same attentional resources. This should lead to interference when timing and executive tasks are executed concurrently. This study examines the interference between timing and task switching, an executive function. In four experiments, memory search and digit classification were performed successively in four conditions: search-search (search followed by search), search-digit, digit-search and digit-digit. In a control reaction-time condition, participants provided RT responses in each of the two tasks. In a time-production condition, an RT response was provided to the first stimulus, but the response to the second stimulus, S2, was given only when participants judged that a previously presented target duration had elapsed. When responding to S2 required a switch, RTs to S2 were longer but produced intervals were unaffected. These results show that memory search affects concurrent timing, but not task switching. Task switching seems therefore to be one executive function not interfering with timing.
timing, task switching, interference, scheduling, memory search, digit classification
Date of this Version
Fortin, Claudette; Schweickert, Richard; Gaudreault, Remi; and Viau-Quesnel, Charles, "Timing is affected by demands in memory search but not by task switching." (2010). Department of Psychological Sciences Faculty Publications. Paper 32.