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RUNNING HEAD: RESEARCH REPORTPSYM008
Research Report PSYM008
Liverpool Hope University
Task-switching paradigms have long been used as a tool for studying individual differences in multi-tasking. The present study aims to explore whether a relationship between response time and accuracy in a single task condition exists and if there will be a difference in response time between single and task-switching conditions. Furthermore, we aimed to explore the concept that gender have an influence on accuracy in the task-switching condition. The study involved a convenience sample of 31 participants; (25 female, 6 male), ranging in age from 23 to 46 years and recruited from an MSc course. A Task Switching E-Prime program running on the computers in a lab was used to display stimuli and register participant responses. The individual differences were investigated using three different statistical analyses. The findings of the study indicate that task costs do exist between single and task-switching conditions. However, it failed to support the concept that response time and accuracy are mutually dependent. Even more interesting was the finding that gender did not have any influence on performance accuracy in the task switching condition. It is hoped that this study will add to previous research in this area and help further develop the current models to provide a more uniform model that can help predict the effects of switch costs.
Keywords: Task-switching, costs, reconfiguration, response, accuracy, gender.
Research Report PSYM008
Modern day living increasingly requires people switch from task to task and this is nowhere more prevalent than the workplace. As employers' demand their workforce is fully utilised, employees are now contactable via email, text, phone, as well as directly in person. Task-switching, that is the ability to juggle two tasks simultaneously or switch successively between tasks, has been a subject for investigation since the late 19th Century (for early work see von Kries, 1895). However, it wasn't until Jersild's introduction of the task switching paradigm (1927) that psychologists began to explore the idea that switching between tasks can impair performance, including a reduction in both speed and accuracy. He introduced the concept that task switching effects could be measured by timing participants as they either repeated one task or alternated between two (Monsell, 2003). These experiments enable investigators to, not only measure the time costs in switching tasks, but they can also asses how the intricacy or awareness of tasks affect time. Rogers and Monsell (1995), who coined the term switch costs, developed Jersild's paradigm by incorporating trials to assess all of these factors. The purpose of this experiment is to investigate further the costs of task-switching through an alternating runs task- switching paradigm.
Arguably, two main theories have...