Shifting Between Mental Sets: An Individual Differences Approach to Commonalities and Differences of Task Switching Components.

Von Bastian, C. C. and Druey, M., 2017. Shifting Between Mental Sets: An Individual Differences Approach to Commonalities and Differences of Task Switching Components. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. (In Press)

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DOI: 10.1037/xge0000333


Switching between mental sets has been extensively investigated in both experimental and individual differences research using a wide range of task-switch paradigms. However, it is yet unclear whether these different tasks measure a unitary shifting ability or reflect different facets thereof. In this study, 20 task pairs were administered to 119 young adults to assess 5 proposed components of mental set shifting: switching between judgments, stimulus dimensions, stimulus–response mappings, response sets, and stimulus sets. Modeling latent factors for each of the components revealed that a model with 5 separate yet mostly correlated factors fit the data best. In this model, the components most strongly related to the other latent factors were stimulus–response mapping shifting and, to a lesser degree, response set shifting. In addition, both factors were statistically indistinguishable from a second-order general shifting factor. In contrast, shifting between judgments as well as stimulus dimensions consistently required separate factors and could, hence, not fully be accounted for by the general shifting factor. Finally, shifting between stimulus sets was unrelated to any other shifting component but mapping shifting. We conclude that tasks assessing shifting between mappings are most adequate to assess general shifting ability. In contrast, shifting between stimulus sets (e.g., as in the Trail Making Test) probably reflects shifts in visual attention rather than executive shifting ability.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Uncontrolled Keywords:task switching; individual differences; executive functions; unity and diversity
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:29325
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:12 Jun 2017 10:13
Last Modified:12 Jun 2017 10:13


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