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Multitasking: multiple, domain-specific cognitive functions in a virtual environment

Logie, RH and Trawley, S and Law, AS (2011) Multitasking: multiple, domain-specific cognitive functions in a virtual environment. MEMORY & COGNITION, 39 (8). pp. 1561-1574. ISSN 0090-502X

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Abstract

Multitasking among three or more different tasks is a ubiquitous requirement of everyday cognition, yet rarely is addressed in research on healthy adults who have had no specific training in multitasking skills. Participants completed a set of diverse subtasks within a simulated shopping mall and office environment, the Edinburgh Virtual Errands Test (EVET). The aim was to investigate how different cognitive functions such as planning, retrospective and prospective memory, and visuo-spatial and verbal working memory contribute to everyday multitasking. Subtasks were chosen to be diverse, and predictions were derived from a statistical model of everyday multitasking impairments associated with frontal lobe lesions (Burgess et al., 2000). Multiple regression indicated significant independent contributions from measures of retrospective memory, visuo-spatial working memory and online planning, but not from independent measures of prospective memory or verbal working memory. Structural Equation Modelling showed that the best fit to the data arose from three underlying constructs, with Memory and Planning having a weak link, but with both having a strong directional pathway to an Intent construct that reflected implementation of intentions. Participants who followed their pre-prepared plan achieved higher scores than those who altered their plan during multitask performance. This was true regardless of whether the plan was efficient or poor. Results substantially develop and extend the Burgess et al. (2000)
model to healthy adults, and yield new insight into the poorly understood area of everyday multitasking. Findings also point to the utility of using virtual environments for investigating this form of complex human cognition.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13421-011-0120-1
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology, 1702 Cognitive Science, 1109 Neurosciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: SPRINGER VERLAG
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 22 May 2015 14:19
Last Modified: 22 May 2015 14:19
DOI or Identification number: 10.3758/s13421-011-0120-1
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/1165

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