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Poster B55

Multitasking training improves the quality of information processing in perceptual decision making

Poster Session B - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Andrew Heusser1, Thomas Wiecki2, Titiimaea Alailima1; 1Akili Interactive, 2PyMC Labs

Multitasking training using a video game-based intervention can lead to improvements on cognitive tasks outside of the treatment (i.e. task transfer) that involve cognitive processes such as sustained attention and perceptual decision making (Anguera et al, 2013). However, the cognitive mechanisms associated with the improved task performance have not been established. Here, we leverage a well-established class of cognitive models (drift diffusion models or DDMs; Ratcliff and McKoon, 2008) to quantify the cognitive processes that mediate the improvements in task performance on a continuous performance task (Test of Variables of Attention, TOVA®) separate from the intervention. Participants completed baseline TOVA, then trained for 4 weeks on the multitasking or a single tasking intervention, and finally completed a second round of TOVA (see Anguera et al, 2013). We fit the pre/post-training TOVA data using a Bayesian hierarchical DDM (Wiecki et al, 2013). We found that the parameter controlling the rate of evidence accumulation (i.e. drift rate) which tracks cognitive processing speed was significantly greater after multitasking training, but not after single task training or in a no contact control group. There were no significant changes in other model parameters (bias, boundary and non-decision time). Furthermore, participants whose data was best explained by an improvement in drift rate also had the largest improvements in response speed on the TOVA task. These results suggest that multitasking training improves the efficiency of information processing (i.e. evidence accumulation), a core cognitive function that could lead to benefits in many cognitive and real world tasks.



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April 13–16  |  2024