Deakin University
Browse

File(s) under permanent embargo

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

Version 2 2024-06-13, 08:39
Version 1 2014-10-28, 10:20
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-13, 08:39 authored by A Law, S Trawley, L Brown, A Stephens, R Logie
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.

History

Journal

Quarterly journal of experimental psychology

Volume

66

Pagination

1241-1258

Location

London, Eng.

ISSN

1747-0218

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2012, Taylor & Francis

Issue

6

Publisher

Routledge