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Attentional resources in timing: Interference effects in concurrent temporal and nontemporal working memory tasks
Perception and Psychophysics (1997)
  • Scott W. Brown, University of Southern Maine
Three experiments examined interference effects in concurrent temporal and nontemporal tasks. The timing task in each experiment required subjects to generate a series of 2- or 5-sec temporal productions. The nontemporal tasks were pursuit rotor tracking (Experiment 1), visual search (Experiment 2), and mental arithmetic (Experiment 3). Each nontemporal task had two levels of difficulty. All tasks were performed under both single- and dual-task conditions. A simple attentional allocation model predicts bidirectional interference between concurrent tasks. The main results showed the classic interference effect in timing. That is, the concurrent nontemporal tasks caused temporal productions to become longer (longer productions represent a shortening of perceived time) and/or more variable than did timing-only conditions. In general, the difficult version of each nontemporal task disrupted timing more than the easier version. The timing data also exhibited a serial lengthening effect, in which temporal productions became longer across trials. Nontemporal task performance showed a mixed pattern. Tracking and visual search were essentially unaffected by the addition of a timing task, whereas mental arithmetic was disrupted by concurrent timing. These results call for a modification of the attentional allocation model to incorporate the idea of specialized processing resources. Two major theoretical frameworks—multiple resource theory and the working memory model—are critically evaluated with respect to the resource demands of timing and temporal/ nontemporal dual-task performance. Some of this work was presented at the Fourth International Workshop on Rhythm Perception and Production, Bourges, France, June 1992.
  • working memory
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Publisher Statement
The journal Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics is an official journal of the Psychonomic Society. It spans all areas of research in sensory processes, perception, attention, and psychophysics. Most articles published are reports of experimental work; the journal also presents theoretical, integrative, and evaluative reviews. Commentary on issues of importance to researchers appears in a special section of the journal. Founded in 1966 as Perception & Psychophysics, the journal assumed its present name in 2009.
Citation Information
Scott W. Brown. "Attentional resources in timing: Interference effects in concurrent temporal and nontemporal working memory tasks" Perception and Psychophysics Vol. 59 Iss. 7 (1997)
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