Investigating task preparation and task performance as triggers of the backward inhibition effect

Laura Prosser, Motonori Yamaguchi, Rachel Swainson* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Backward inhibition is posited to aid task switching by counteracting the tendency to repeat a recent task. Evidence that factors such as cue transparency affect backward inhibition seems to imply that it is generated during task preparation, making its absence following trials on which a prepared task was not performed (nogo trials) surprising. However, the nogo method used in
previous studies might have prevented detection of preparation-driven effects. We used a truncated-trial method instead, omitting stages of a trial with no need for a nogo signal. In Experiment 1, an n – 2 repetition cost (suggested to indicate backward inhibition) followed trials truncated after response selection, indicating that response execution is not necessary to trigger backward inhibition. In Experiments 2 and 3, no n – 2 repetition cost was obtained following trials truncated after cue presentation. To ensure some task preparation on cue-only trials, Experiment 4 used a double-registration procedure where participants responded to the task cue and the target on each trial. In contrast to Experiments 2 and 3, a small n – 2 repetition cost followed trials truncated after cue responses, affecting cue responses on the current trial. In addition, the n – 2 repetition cost was increased at cue responses and became evident at target responses when the preceding trial also involved a target response. These results imply that backward inhibition might be generated by processes occurring up to and including a cue response, affecting subsequent cue responses, as well as during task performance itself, affecting subsequent cue and target responses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Research
Early online date26 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • backward inhibition
  • task switching
  • cognitive control
  • cue-only trials

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Investigating task preparation and task performance as triggers of the backward inhibition effect'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this