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Succumbing to bottom-up biases on task choice predicts increased switch costs in the voluntary task switching paradigm.

Orr JM, Weissman DH - Front Psychol (2011)

Bottom Line: Definitive support for this hypothesis is lacking, however, because task choice and task performance are usually confounded.As predicted, participants tended to choose the task that was primed by bottom-up biases.These findings provide compelling evidence that bottom-up biases influence voluntary task choice.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

ABSTRACT
Bottom-up biases are widely thought to influence task choice in the voluntary task switching paradigm. Definitive support for this hypothesis is lacking, however, because task choice and task performance are usually confounded. We therefore revisited this hypothesis using a paradigm in which task choice and task performance are temporally separated. As predicted, participants tended to choose the task that was primed by bottom-up biases. Moreover, such choices were linked to increased switch costs during subsequent task performance. These findings provide compelling evidence that bottom-up biases influence voluntary task choice. They also suggest that succumbing to such biases reflects a reduction of top-down control that persists to influence upcoming task performance.

No MeSH data available.


Examples of voluntary and explicit task choice trials used in the experiment. Participants performed a task switching version of the numerical Stroop task, which involved comparing two digits with respect to their numerical size or with respect to their physical size. (A) Each voluntary task choice trial began with the presentation of a central question mark (“?”), which indicated that participants should voluntarily choose which task to perform. Participants were instructed to indicate their task choice by pressing a button with the middle or index finger of their left hand. (B) Each explicit task choice trial began with the presentation of a central cue letter, which indicated that participants should choose to perform either the numerical or the physical size comparison task. Participants were instructed to confirm their task choice by pressing a button with the middle or index finger of their left hand. In both voluntary and explicit task choice trials, the central cue was flanked by two identical distracter letters that were associated with the numerical size comparison task (i.e., two “Ns”), the physical size comparison task (i.e., two “Ps”), or neither task (i.e., two “Os”). The cue and flanking distracter letters remained on the screen until participants indicated their task choice. Five hundred milliseconds after making a task choice, the imperative task stimuli (i.e., two digits) appeared. One was numerically larger (e.g., “7”) while the other was numerically smaller (e.g., “3”). Further, one was presented in a larger font (e.g., “3”) while the other was presented in a smaller font (e.g., “7”). In congruent trials, the numerically larger digit was also physically larger. In incongruent trials, the numerically larger digit was physically smaller. Depending on the task, participants indicated which of the two digits (top or bottom) was numerically larger or physically larger. They were instructed to indicate their decision as quickly and as accurately as possible by making a key press with either their right index finger or their right middle finger. The next trial began after a 100 or a 1000 ms response-to-cue interval (RCI), which varied across participants.
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Figure 1: Examples of voluntary and explicit task choice trials used in the experiment. Participants performed a task switching version of the numerical Stroop task, which involved comparing two digits with respect to their numerical size or with respect to their physical size. (A) Each voluntary task choice trial began with the presentation of a central question mark (“?”), which indicated that participants should voluntarily choose which task to perform. Participants were instructed to indicate their task choice by pressing a button with the middle or index finger of their left hand. (B) Each explicit task choice trial began with the presentation of a central cue letter, which indicated that participants should choose to perform either the numerical or the physical size comparison task. Participants were instructed to confirm their task choice by pressing a button with the middle or index finger of their left hand. In both voluntary and explicit task choice trials, the central cue was flanked by two identical distracter letters that were associated with the numerical size comparison task (i.e., two “Ns”), the physical size comparison task (i.e., two “Ps”), or neither task (i.e., two “Os”). The cue and flanking distracter letters remained on the screen until participants indicated their task choice. Five hundred milliseconds after making a task choice, the imperative task stimuli (i.e., two digits) appeared. One was numerically larger (e.g., “7”) while the other was numerically smaller (e.g., “3”). Further, one was presented in a larger font (e.g., “3”) while the other was presented in a smaller font (e.g., “7”). In congruent trials, the numerically larger digit was also physically larger. In incongruent trials, the numerically larger digit was physically smaller. Depending on the task, participants indicated which of the two digits (top or bottom) was numerically larger or physically larger. They were instructed to indicate their decision as quickly and as accurately as possible by making a key press with either their right index finger or their right middle finger. The next trial began after a 100 or a 1000 ms response-to-cue interval (RCI), which varied across participants.

Mentions: Participants performed a voluntary task switching version of the numerical Stroop task, which involved comparing two digits in terms of their numerical size or in terms of their physical size (Henik and Tzelgov, 1982). In each trial, participants voluntarily chose to perform one of these tasks (Figure 1A) or were explicitly instructed to perform one of these tasks (Figure 1B). Voluntary and explicit task choice trials were presented in a random order throughout the experiment.


Succumbing to bottom-up biases on task choice predicts increased switch costs in the voluntary task switching paradigm.

Orr JM, Weissman DH - Front Psychol (2011)

Examples of voluntary and explicit task choice trials used in the experiment. Participants performed a task switching version of the numerical Stroop task, which involved comparing two digits with respect to their numerical size or with respect to their physical size. (A) Each voluntary task choice trial began with the presentation of a central question mark (“?”), which indicated that participants should voluntarily choose which task to perform. Participants were instructed to indicate their task choice by pressing a button with the middle or index finger of their left hand. (B) Each explicit task choice trial began with the presentation of a central cue letter, which indicated that participants should choose to perform either the numerical or the physical size comparison task. Participants were instructed to confirm their task choice by pressing a button with the middle or index finger of their left hand. In both voluntary and explicit task choice trials, the central cue was flanked by two identical distracter letters that were associated with the numerical size comparison task (i.e., two “Ns”), the physical size comparison task (i.e., two “Ps”), or neither task (i.e., two “Os”). The cue and flanking distracter letters remained on the screen until participants indicated their task choice. Five hundred milliseconds after making a task choice, the imperative task stimuli (i.e., two digits) appeared. One was numerically larger (e.g., “7”) while the other was numerically smaller (e.g., “3”). Further, one was presented in a larger font (e.g., “3”) while the other was presented in a smaller font (e.g., “7”). In congruent trials, the numerically larger digit was also physically larger. In incongruent trials, the numerically larger digit was physically smaller. Depending on the task, participants indicated which of the two digits (top or bottom) was numerically larger or physically larger. They were instructed to indicate their decision as quickly and as accurately as possible by making a key press with either their right index finger or their right middle finger. The next trial began after a 100 or a 1000 ms response-to-cue interval (RCI), which varied across participants.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Show All Figures
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Figure 1: Examples of voluntary and explicit task choice trials used in the experiment. Participants performed a task switching version of the numerical Stroop task, which involved comparing two digits with respect to their numerical size or with respect to their physical size. (A) Each voluntary task choice trial began with the presentation of a central question mark (“?”), which indicated that participants should voluntarily choose which task to perform. Participants were instructed to indicate their task choice by pressing a button with the middle or index finger of their left hand. (B) Each explicit task choice trial began with the presentation of a central cue letter, which indicated that participants should choose to perform either the numerical or the physical size comparison task. Participants were instructed to confirm their task choice by pressing a button with the middle or index finger of their left hand. In both voluntary and explicit task choice trials, the central cue was flanked by two identical distracter letters that were associated with the numerical size comparison task (i.e., two “Ns”), the physical size comparison task (i.e., two “Ps”), or neither task (i.e., two “Os”). The cue and flanking distracter letters remained on the screen until participants indicated their task choice. Five hundred milliseconds after making a task choice, the imperative task stimuli (i.e., two digits) appeared. One was numerically larger (e.g., “7”) while the other was numerically smaller (e.g., “3”). Further, one was presented in a larger font (e.g., “3”) while the other was presented in a smaller font (e.g., “7”). In congruent trials, the numerically larger digit was also physically larger. In incongruent trials, the numerically larger digit was physically smaller. Depending on the task, participants indicated which of the two digits (top or bottom) was numerically larger or physically larger. They were instructed to indicate their decision as quickly and as accurately as possible by making a key press with either their right index finger or their right middle finger. The next trial began after a 100 or a 1000 ms response-to-cue interval (RCI), which varied across participants.
Mentions: Participants performed a voluntary task switching version of the numerical Stroop task, which involved comparing two digits in terms of their numerical size or in terms of their physical size (Henik and Tzelgov, 1982). In each trial, participants voluntarily chose to perform one of these tasks (Figure 1A) or were explicitly instructed to perform one of these tasks (Figure 1B). Voluntary and explicit task choice trials were presented in a random order throughout the experiment.

Bottom Line: Definitive support for this hypothesis is lacking, however, because task choice and task performance are usually confounded.As predicted, participants tended to choose the task that was primed by bottom-up biases.These findings provide compelling evidence that bottom-up biases influence voluntary task choice.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

ABSTRACT
Bottom-up biases are widely thought to influence task choice in the voluntary task switching paradigm. Definitive support for this hypothesis is lacking, however, because task choice and task performance are usually confounded. We therefore revisited this hypothesis using a paradigm in which task choice and task performance are temporally separated. As predicted, participants tended to choose the task that was primed by bottom-up biases. Moreover, such choices were linked to increased switch costs during subsequent task performance. These findings provide compelling evidence that bottom-up biases influence voluntary task choice. They also suggest that succumbing to such biases reflects a reduction of top-down control that persists to influence upcoming task performance.

No MeSH data available.