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

Logie, Robert H., Trawley, Steven and Law, Anna 2011, Multitasking: multiple, domain-specific cognitive functions in a virtual environment, Memory & cognition, vol. 39, no. 8, pp. 1561-1574, doi: 10.3758/s13421-011-0120-1.

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Title Multitasking: multiple, domain-specific cognitive functions in a virtual environment
Author(s) Logie, Robert H.
Trawley, StevenORCID iD for Trawley, Steven orcid.org/0000-0002-0917-730X
Law, Anna
Journal name Memory & cognition
Volume number 39
Issue number 8
Start page 1561
End page 1574
Total pages 14
Publisher Springer
Place of publication New York, NY
Publication date 2011-11
ISSN 0090-502X
1532-5946
Keyword(s) multitasking
virtual reality
cognition
Summary Multitasking among three or more different tasks is a ubiquitous requirement of everyday cognition, yet rarely is it 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 visuospatial 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, Veitch, de Lacy Costello, & Shallice, 2000b). Multiple regression indicated significant independent contributions from measures of retrospective memory, visuospatial 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 preprepared 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. These results substantially develop and extend the Burgess et al. (2000b) model to healthy adults and yield new insight into the poorly understood area of everyday multitasking. The findings also point to the utility of using virtual environments for investigating this form of complex human cognition.
Language eng
DOI 10.3758/s13421-011-0120-1
Field of Research 170201 Computer Perception, Memory and Attention
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, Springer
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30058473

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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Created: Tue, 26 Nov 2013, 15:43:39 EST by Steven Trawley

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