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Spatial offloading in multiple task monitoring
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Humboldt University, Germany.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. University of Trieste, Italy.
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Number of Authors: 52018 (English)In: Journal of Cognitive Psychology, ISSN 2044-5911, E-ISSN 2044-592X, Vol. 30, no 2, p. 230-241Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Coordinating multiple tasks requires a high degree of cognitive control, and individuals with limited executive functions often show difficulties in everyday multitasking. We tested the hypothesis that demands on executive control can be alleviated by internally representing the temporal pattern of goals and deadlines as spatial relations. In two experiments, participants completed a multitasking session by monitoring deadlines of four clocks running at different rates, along with separate tasks of executive functioning and spatial ability. In Experiment 1, individual and gender-related differences in spatial ability (mental rotation) predicted multitasking performance, beyond the contributions of both the updating and inhibition components of executive functioning, and even when spatial cues were eliminated from the layout of the monitoring task. Experiment 2 extended these findings by showing that concurrent spatial load impaired task monitoring accuracy, and that these detrimental effects were accentuated when spatial abilities were compromized due to fluctuation in female sex hormones. These findings suggest that multiple task monitoring involves working memory-related functions, but that these cognitive control demands can be offloaded by relying on spatial relation processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 30, no 2, p. 230-241
Keywords [en]
Multitasking, spatial ability, executive functioning, cognitive offloading
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-156037DOI: 10.1080/20445911.2018.1436551ISI: 000427718100008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-156037DiVA, id: diva2:1203652
Available from: 2018-05-04 Created: 2018-05-04 Last updated: 2018-05-04Bibliographically approved

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Todorov, IvoKubik, VeitDel Missier, FabioMäntylä, Timo
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