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Linking inhibition to activation in the control of task sequences

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Gade,  Miriam
Department Psychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Koch,  Iring
Department Psychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Gade, M., & Koch, I. (2005). Linking inhibition to activation in the control of task sequences. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 12(3), 530-534. doi:10.3758/BF03193800.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-C40F-B
Abstract
Inhibition of abandoned tasks in task switching can be inferred when a worse performance is found withn− 2 task repetitions (ABA sequences) than with nonrepetitions (CBA sequences). Recent evidence has shown that this inhibition effect decreases with long intertrial intervals (i.e., response-cue intervals, RCIs). Two alternatives have been proposed to account for this decrease. One alternative attributes the observed decrease to the decay of inhibition itself. The other alternative proposes that decay of the activation of competing tasks reduces the interference and leads to less inhibition. To decide between these alternatives, we manipulated RCI trialwise. The results favor the decay-of-activation account as an explanation for the decreased inhibition effect. This links the amount of inhibition to the activation level of the competing tasks, whereas evidence for the decay of inhibition remains weak.