Poster D37, Monday, March 27, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Preparatory brain activity in dual-tasking
Marco Steinhauser1, Robert Steinhauser1; 1Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
When the execution of two tasks overlaps in time, dual-task costs emerge in response times and error rates. While research has primarily focused on the source of these costs, less is known about how the execution of dual-tasks is prepared in advance. In the present study, we used event-related potentials to investigate preparatory brain activity related to Task 1 and Task 2 during a dual-task paradigm. Participants performed two tasks in close succession, while the order of tasks was indicated by a cue and varied across trials. Our approach was to isolate preparatory activity predictive for Task 1 and Task 2 errors during the cue-stimulus interval. In this way, we aimed to distinguish between three hypotheses concerning the scheduling of task preparation: Either only Task 1 is prepared in advance, or both tasks are prepared simultaneously, or each task is prepared at different time points. We found an early anterior positivity related to Task 1 preparation and a late anterior negativity related to Task 2 preparation. Whereas this pattern suggests that both tasks are prepared at different time points, the nature of these effects implies that the underlying preparation processes differ.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Goal maintenance & switching