Measuring attentional demand in continuous dual-task performance

Bourke, Patrick (1997) Measuring attentional demand in continuous dual-task performance. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology A, 50 (4). pp. 821-840. ISSN 0272-4987, 1747-0218

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Measuring Attentional Demand in Continuous Dual-task Performance
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/713755737

Abstract

Despite its intuitive appeal, the commonly held assumption that there is some general limitation on dual-task performance has been shown to be seriously flawed (Allport 1980;Navon 1984). Central to this has been the inability to measure the attentional demands of tasks, without which there is no way to determine whether their joint demands exceed the hypothetical general limit. In the absence of such a measure, dual-task interference can always be explained by the alternative possibility that specific interference has occurred. A method is described in which the attentional demands of tasks can be measured and crossvalidated by the use of two scales. Two experiments are described in which a general attentional limit is found; the measurement of attentional demand is consistent across scales and can be made at a level of precision approximating that of an interval scale.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Despite its intuitive appeal, the commonly held assumption that there is some general limitation on dual-task performance has been shown to be seriously flawed (Allport 1980;Navon 1984). Central to this has been the inability to measure the attentional demands of tasks, without which there is no way to determine whether their joint demands exceed the hypothetical general limit. In the absence of such a measure, dual-task interference can always be explained by the alternative possibility that specific interference has occurred. A method is described in which the attentional demands of tasks can be measured and crossvalidated by the use of two scales. Two experiments are described in which a general attentional limit is found; the measurement of attentional demand is consistent across scales and can be made at a level of precision approximating that of an interval scale.
Keywords:attentional demand, continuous dual task performance
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:3396
Deposited By: Alison Wilson
Deposited On:29 Sep 2010 14:25
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 08:47

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