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The impact of working memory load on task execution and online plan adjustment during multitasking in a virtual environment

Law, Anna S., Trawley, Steven L., Brown, Louise A., Stephens, Amanda N. and Logie, Robert H. 2012, The impact of working memory load on task execution and online plan adjustment during multitasking in a virtual environment, Quarterly journal of experimental psychology, vol. 66, no. 6, pp. 1241-1258, doi: 10.1080/17470218.2012.748813.

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Title The impact of working memory load on task execution and online plan adjustment during multitasking in a virtual environment
Author(s) Law, Anna S.
Trawley, Steven L.ORCID iD for Trawley, Steven L. orcid.org/0000-0002-0917-730X
Brown, Louise A.
Stephens, Amanda N.
Logie, Robert H.
Journal name Quarterly journal of experimental psychology
Volume number 66
Issue number 6
Start page 1241
End page 1258
Total pages 18
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2012-12-12
ISSN 1747-0218
Keyword(s) multitasking
planning
working memory
dual task
executive function
Summary Three experiments investigated the impact of working memory load on online plan adjustment during a test of multitasking in young, nonexpert, adult participants. Multitasking was assessed using the Edinburgh Virtual Errands Test (EVET). Participants were asked to memorize either good or poor plans for performing multiple errands and were assessed both on task completion and on the extent to which they modified their plans during EVET performance. EVET was performed twice, with and without a secondary task loading a component of working memory. In Experiment 1, articulatory suppression was used to load the phonological loop. In Experiment 2, oral random generation was used to load executive functions. In Experiment 3, spatial working memory was loaded with an auditory spatial localization task. EVET performance for both good- and poor-planning groups was disrupted by random generation and sound localization, but not by articulatory suppression. Additionally, people given a poor plan were able to overcome this initial disadvantage by modifying their plans online. It was concluded that, in addition to executive functions, multiple errands performance draws heavily on spatial, but not verbal, working memory resources but can be successfully completed on the basis of modifying plans online, despite a secondary task load.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/17470218.2012.748813
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 ©2012, Taylor & Francis
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30059014

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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Created: Mon, 16 Dec 2013, 19:05:56 EST by Steven Trawley

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