Task cues lead to item-level backward inhibition with univalent stimuli and responses

Laura J. Prosser* (Corresponding Author), Margaret C. Jackson, Rachel Swainson

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Backward inhibition may aid our ability to switch between tasks by counteracting the tendency to repeat a recently performed task. Current theory asserts that conflict between tasks during performance plays a key role in inducing the effect. However, a study by Costa and Friedrich (2012) suggests that backward inhibition might occur without this type of conflict being present. To better understand the mechanisms underlying backward inhibition, we investigated the roles of between-task conflict, task-based instructions, and task cues. Experiment 1 tentatively supported the view that conflict between tasks is not necessary for backward inhibition to be present, and suggested that either the use of task-based instructions or the provision of specific task-cues might be sufficient to generate the effect. Experiment 2 ruled out task-based instruction as a likely cause of backward inhibition in this context. Experiment 3 showed that the provision of task-cues was sufficient to drive a significant backward inhibition effect, but only when stimuli and responses (as well as tasks) repeated. Overall, these results indicate that between-task conflict during performance is not necessary for backward inhibition to be applied, and that task cues have a key role in generating the effect.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Early online date7 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Oct 2019

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Cues
Aptitude
Task Performance and Analysis
Inhibition (Psychology)
Conflict (Psychology)

Keywords

  • inhibition
  • task switching
  • cue processing
  • conflict

Cite this

@article{9580a3b34e1940b8a6b14be1ed0d7394,
title = "Task cues lead to item-level backward inhibition with univalent stimuli and responses",
abstract = "Backward inhibition may aid our ability to switch between tasks by counteracting the tendency to repeat a recently performed task. Current theory asserts that conflict between tasks during performance plays a key role in inducing the effect. However, a study by Costa and Friedrich (2012) suggests that backward inhibition might occur without this type of conflict being present. To better understand the mechanisms underlying backward inhibition, we investigated the roles of between-task conflict, task-based instructions, and task cues. Experiment 1 tentatively supported the view that conflict between tasks is not necessary for backward inhibition to be present, and suggested that either the use of task-based instructions or the provision of specific task-cues might be sufficient to generate the effect. Experiment 2 ruled out task-based instruction as a likely cause of backward inhibition in this context. Experiment 3 showed that the provision of task-cues was sufficient to drive a significant backward inhibition effect, but only when stimuli and responses (as well as tasks) repeated. Overall, these results indicate that between-task conflict during performance is not necessary for backward inhibition to be applied, and that task cues have a key role in generating the effect.",
keywords = "inhibition, task switching, cue processing, conflict",
author = "Prosser, {Laura J.} and Jackson, {Margaret C.} and Rachel Swainson",
note = "Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.",
year = "2019",
month = "10",
day = "7",
doi = "10.1177/1747021819882901",
language = "English",
journal = "Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology",
issn = "1747-0218",
publisher = "Psychology Press Ltd",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Task cues lead to item-level backward inhibition with univalent stimuli and responses

AU - Prosser, Laura J.

AU - Jackson, Margaret C.

AU - Swainson, Rachel

N1 - Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

PY - 2019/10/7

Y1 - 2019/10/7

N2 - Backward inhibition may aid our ability to switch between tasks by counteracting the tendency to repeat a recently performed task. Current theory asserts that conflict between tasks during performance plays a key role in inducing the effect. However, a study by Costa and Friedrich (2012) suggests that backward inhibition might occur without this type of conflict being present. To better understand the mechanisms underlying backward inhibition, we investigated the roles of between-task conflict, task-based instructions, and task cues. Experiment 1 tentatively supported the view that conflict between tasks is not necessary for backward inhibition to be present, and suggested that either the use of task-based instructions or the provision of specific task-cues might be sufficient to generate the effect. Experiment 2 ruled out task-based instruction as a likely cause of backward inhibition in this context. Experiment 3 showed that the provision of task-cues was sufficient to drive a significant backward inhibition effect, but only when stimuli and responses (as well as tasks) repeated. Overall, these results indicate that between-task conflict during performance is not necessary for backward inhibition to be applied, and that task cues have a key role in generating the effect.

AB - Backward inhibition may aid our ability to switch between tasks by counteracting the tendency to repeat a recently performed task. Current theory asserts that conflict between tasks during performance plays a key role in inducing the effect. However, a study by Costa and Friedrich (2012) suggests that backward inhibition might occur without this type of conflict being present. To better understand the mechanisms underlying backward inhibition, we investigated the roles of between-task conflict, task-based instructions, and task cues. Experiment 1 tentatively supported the view that conflict between tasks is not necessary for backward inhibition to be present, and suggested that either the use of task-based instructions or the provision of specific task-cues might be sufficient to generate the effect. Experiment 2 ruled out task-based instruction as a likely cause of backward inhibition in this context. Experiment 3 showed that the provision of task-cues was sufficient to drive a significant backward inhibition effect, but only when stimuli and responses (as well as tasks) repeated. Overall, these results indicate that between-task conflict during performance is not necessary for backward inhibition to be applied, and that task cues have a key role in generating the effect.

KW - inhibition

KW - task switching

KW - cue processing

KW - conflict

U2 - 10.1177/1747021819882901

DO - 10.1177/1747021819882901

M3 - Article

JO - Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

JF - Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

SN - 1747-0218

ER -