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Causes and Consequences of Errors in Dual-Tasking (2015-2018; 2018-2021)

Team

Marco Steinhauser

Prof. Dr. Marco Steinhauser               

Principal Investigator

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 Stefanie Ochsenkühn

Stefanie Ochsenkühn 

PhD candidate

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Robert Steinhauser

Dr. Robert Steinhauser                              

Collaborative Post-doctoral Fellow

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Abstract (2018-2021)

Efficient task performance requires an error monitoring system that detects errors and initiates control adjustments in order to prevent further errors. These mechanisms are even more important when multiple subtasks are executed simultaneously or in rapid succession as interference between subtasks makes dual-tasking performance particularly error-prone. The present project investigates how reliable error monitoring under dual-tasking is achieved, and how errors can be prevented by adaptive cognitive control processes. The project focusses on four research questions: First, we investigate how errors on the subtask-level and dual-task-level are simultaneously monitored. Second, we ask how the error monitoring system solves the credit assignment problem that emerges when multiple error signals have to be correctly assigned to their corresponding tasks. Third, we address how dynamic changes of visual attention following errors contribute to adaptive control adjustments and error-induced interference. And finally, we examine how successful dual-tasking performance is achieved by advance preparation. Our methodological approach is to analyze behavioral data and event-related potentials in the Psychological Refractory Period paradigm. Our studies aim to improve our basic understanding of the architecture of error monitoring and the operation of cognitive control under dual-tasking.

Abstract (2015-2018)

Efficient task performance requires a performance monitoring system that detects errors and initiates control adjustments in order to prevent further errors. These mechanisms are even more important when multiple subtasks are executed simultaneously or in rapid succession. Under these conditions, interference between subtasks can emerge which makes dual-tasking performance particularly error-prone. The present project investigates the relationship between errors and cognitive control in dual-tasking by addressing three research questions: First, we ask how errors induce short-term control adjustments that prevent further errors and optimize performance. Second, we ask how performance monitoring and control-adjustments in one subtask interfere with processing in another subtask, thus leading to error propagation. Finally, we ask how failures of preparation cause errors and how preparation is adjusted in response to errors to prevent further errors. To achieve this, we analyze behavioral data and event-related potentials in the Psychological Refractory Period paradigm. Our studies aim to improve our understanding of how errors emerge and how cognitive control operates in dual-tasking. Based on our results, we hope to derive recommendations how learning from errors can be optimized in applied dual-tasking scenarios.

 

Project Output

Steinhauser, M., Ernst, B., & Ibald, K. (2017). Isolating component processes of post-error slowing with the PRP paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 43, 653-659.

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