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Task inhibition, conflict, and the n-2 repetition cost: A combined computational and empirical approach

Sexton, NJ; Cooper, RP; (2017) Task inhibition, conflict, and the n-2 repetition cost: A combined computational and empirical approach. Cognitive Psychology , 94 pp. 1-25. 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2017.01.003. Green open access

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Abstract

Task inhibition (also known as backward inhibition) is an hypothesised form of cognitive inhibition evident in multi-task situations, with the role of facilitating switching between multiple, competing tasks. This article presents a novel cognitive computational model of a backward inhibition mechanism. By combining aspects of previous cognitive models in task switching and conflict monitoring, the model instantiates the theoretical proposal that backward inhibition is the direct result of conflict between multiple task representations. In a first simulation, we demonstrate that the model produces two effects widely observed in the empirical literature, specifically, reaction time costs for both (n-1) task switches and n-2 task repeats. Through a systematic search of parameter space, we demonstrate that these effects are a general property of the model’s theoretical content, and not specific parameter settings. We further demonstrate that the model captures previously reported empirical effects of inter-trial interval on n-2 switch costs. A final simulation extends the paradigm of switching between tasks of asymmetric difficulty to three tasks, and generates novel predictions for n-2 repetition costs. Specifically, the model predicts that n-2 repetition costs associated with hard-easy-hard alternations are greater than for easy-hard-easy alternations. Finally, we report two behavioural experiments testing this hypothesis, with results consistent with the model predictions.

Type: Article
Title: Task inhibition, conflict, and the n-2 repetition cost: A combined computational and empirical approach
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2017.01.003
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogpsych.2017.01.003
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10074605
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