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Journal Article

Improved intertask coordination after extensive dual-task practice


Liepelt,  Roman
Junior Group “Neurocognition of Joint Action”, Department of Psychology, Münster University, Germany;
Department of Psychology, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;
Department Psychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Liepelt, R., Strobach, T., Frensch, P., & Schubert, T. (2011). Improved intertask coordination after extensive dual-task practice. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64(7), 1251-1272. doi:10.1080/17470218.2010.543284.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-F3DD-F
This study examines whether an improved intertask coordination skill is acquired during extensive dual-task training and whether it can be transferred to a new dual-task situation. Participants practised a visual–manual task and an auditory–vocal task. These tasks were trained in two groups matched in dual-task performance measures before practice: a single-task practice group and a hybrid practice group (including single-task and dual-task practice). After practice, the single-task practice group was transferred to the same dual-task situation as that for the hybrid practice group (Experiment 1), both groups were transferred to a dual-task situation with a new visual task (Experiment 2), and both groups were transferred to a dual-task situation with a new auditory task matched in task difficulty (Experiment 3). The results show a dual-task performance advantage in the hybrid practice group over the single-task practice group in the practised dual-task situation (Experiment 1), the manipulated visual-task situation (Experiment 2), and the manipulated auditory-task situation (Experiment 3). In all experiments, the dual-task performance advantage was consistently found for the auditory task only. These findings suggest that extended dual-task practice improves the skill to coordinate two tasks, which may be defined as an accelerated switching operation between both tasks. This skill is relatively robust against changes of the component visual and auditory tasks. We discuss how the finding of task coordination could be integrated in present models of dual-task research.