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Inattention and task switching performance: the role of predictability, working memory load and goal neglect.

Arabacı, G. and Parris, B., 2020. Inattention and task switching performance: the role of predictability, working memory load and goal neglect. Psychological Research, 84, 2090-2110.

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DOI: 10.1007/s00426-019-01214-1


Inattention is a symptom of many clinical disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is thought to be primarily related to limitations in working memory. In two studies, we investigated the implications of inattention for task switching performance. In study one, we measured task switching performance using predictable and unpredictable conditions in adults who self-rated inattention and other ADHD-related tendencies. Tasks required proactive control and reactive control, respectively, under both high and low working memory loads. Results revealed that inattentive, but not hyperactive/impulsive traits, predicted switch costs when switching was predictable and working memory load was high. None of the ADHD traits were related to unpredictable switch costs. Study two was designed to: (1) de-confound the role of proactive control and the need to keep track of task order in the predictable task switching paradigm; (2) investigate whether goal neglect, an impairment related to working memory, could explain the relationship between inattention and predictable task switching. Results revealed that neither predictability nor the need to keep track of the task order led to the association between switch costs and inattention, but instead it was the tendency for those high in inattention to neglect preparatory proactive control, especially when reactive control options were available.

Item Type:Article
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:32496
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:08 Jul 2019 10:43
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:16


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